This is such a beautiful recipe. And delicious, too! Blanching the asparagus is important, because you don’t want the edges of the tart to burn in order to get the asparagus fully cooked!
Also, an easy trick to grate cheese (particularly hard cheese like parmesan and gruyere) is to use your zester. When I was growing up, my mother had an larger cheese grater that she used to use, but the zester works just as well. If you keep rubbing back and forth without breaking contact with the cheese, you end up with beautiful long ribbons of gruyere. In this recipe, that didn’t matter too much, but if you were using it to top a salad, it would be really lovely.
Finally, a word of wisdom: This recipe calls for puff pastry. That’s not the same thing as phyllo dough. Phyllo dough is impossible to work with, has to be defrosted overnight before you even touch it, and requires a lot of extra egg/butter/olive oil to bind the sheets together. Puff pastry, on the other hand, can be bought pre-made in the grocery store (I used Pepperidge Farm), defrosted at room temperature for 45 minutes, and then rolled into the appropriate size. It’s incredible easy. Some of you might be wondering if *I* might have accidentally bought phyllo dough the first time I tried to make this recipe. I’m going to plead the fifth…
Asparagus Gruyere Tart
Flour, for rolling the puff pastry
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 pound asparagus
Coarse sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. and place the pastry onto a baking sheet.
3. Using a fork, prick the dough at 1/2-inch intervals. Do not prick the border of the dough, approximately 1″ from the edges.
4. Pre-bake the crust for about 15 minutes.
5. While the crust is baking, bring a put of water to a boil. Blanche the asparagus for 3-4 minutes, until it has turned bright green but has not cooked all the way through. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus (they should snap off in your hands when bent).
6. Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Arrange the asparagus over the Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Sprinkle with sea salt.
7. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, allow to cool, and serve.
I should note that this is a very slightly adapted version of a Martha Stewart recipe that appears in her book, Everyday Food.