Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Asparagus + Tomato Tart

Even after making the delicious green soup, we had about half of our asparagus bounty remaining. After turning to Pinterest for some recipe pin-spiration, I noticed a trend of beautiful asparagus tarts. Most of the recipes I found involved puff pastry, but we had a box of phyllo that was feeling a little neglected in the freezer. So, after a lot of browsing, reading, gawking, (and becoming really hungry, as always seems to happen when I'm on Pinterest...) I went in the kitchen to make my own asparagus tart creation.

Working with phyllo dough is a labor of love. My patience in the kitchen was definitely tested. But, the as the end result shows, a few tears here and there are no cause for frustration. Channeling Paula Deen, I also realized a bit of melted butter fixes any torn-phyllo woes. And really, apart from the phyllo prep, this tart comes along so easy and it's so, so tasty. All the fuss is worth it. The result is a bit like a light, crunchy, sauce-less pizza. Cut into little squares, it's a great appetizer. Cut into bigger squares, it's a perfect dinner. And with toppings like tomato & asparagus, it screams SPRING.

Asparagus + Tomato Tart
3-4 servings as main course, more as an appetizer

9 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted according to package directions
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 oz asparagus
2 tomatoes, finely sliced
3/4 cup grated cheese, I used a mix of gruyere & white cheddar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp italian or pizza seasoning

Preheat oven to 350* and lightly butter a baking sheet (I used a pastry brush). Gently place one sheet of phyllo dough on the baking sheet. Brush melted butter on phyllo sheet, and lay another on top. Repeat with three phyllo sheets. After brushing melted better on the third sheet, sprinkle with some cheese. Repeat this process until all 9 sheets of phyllo are layered. Once the tart base is made, roll all sides of the tart a couple times, to contain all the ingredients you're about to place on the tart. To build the tart, start by evenly spreading garlic and onion. Then, layer tomato on top. Sprinkle with all seasonings. Line asparagus on top of tomatoes, and lastly sprinkle the remaining cheese over it all.

Bake for about 30 minutes in the oven, or until phyllo is a golden brown color, and all the cheese has melted. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

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