I’ve been seeing this recipe for puff pastry tarts floating around the internet lately and we finally got around to making it. Or … I should say, Jack, finally got around to making it.
Commercial break: Here’s the deal, during the work week I do the cooking because my commute is a 10-second walk across the kitchen. Jack’s commute is … well, we don’t want to go there. Let’s just say it’s loooooooooong. Many books and much news can be listened to.
Anyway, on the weekends he prefers to do the cooking. The man’s a fabulous cook. It makes him happy. And I’m all about making Jack a happy camper.
When he insists on cooking dinner, who am I to argue? Instead I happily skidaddle to another room with a good book, or I paint my toenails, or I just stare at the ceiling, pick my nose and contemplate nirvana. It’s an idyllic time. I don’t question it; I just enjoy it.
Back to scheduled programming: Here’s the ridiculously easy recipe along with our modifications …
Tip #1: Use store-bought puff pastry. Jack makes a terrific pork wellington so we always seem to have a box of puff pastry in our freezer. It’s one of our staples. So that’s what we used. I suppose if we were die hard we’d make our own puff pastry, but Pepperidge Farm puff pastry works beautifully so why kill ourselves? You’ll get two tarts out of one standard box of puff pastry. So we made two tarts: one is asparagus and the other is zucchini. The recipe calls for Gruyere, which is a fantastic accompaniment to the asparagus, but make sure it’s nice and strong so that the flavor can really stand up to the asparagus. We also grated some fresh Parmesan on top. A little Parmesan never hurt anyone. Since zucchini’s flavor is softer than asparagus we used more Parm than Gruyere on that tart for a smoother flavor combination.
The recipe is uber simple, can be modified a million different ways (to be either sweet or savory) and is a good bet for week nights since it assembles and cooks quickly. And because it’s puff pastry (nice and buttery) it feels quite decadent and sinful.
Asparagus, gruyere and zucchini puff pastry tart
Modified from the recipe on MarthaStewart.com
Serves 4 (or two hungry folk)
* Flour, for work surface
* 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
* 5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
* 1 1/2 pounds medium asparagus
* 2 medium zucchini, sliced thin
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* Sea salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Place pastry on a baking sheet (This is important—build your tart ON the baking sheet as it will be too delicate to move easily later. Learn from our mistakes, people!). With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle (this will puff up and become your border). Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes (We didn’t pre-bake, we just baked it all at once for about 20 minutes and it worked out well. I think it might have been much drier pre-baked. Also, we were too hungry to wait around longer than necessary.).
2. Sprinkle pastry shell with Gruyere. Arrange asparagus (or zucchini —or whatever veggie makes you tingly) in a single layer over Gruyere. Brush with oil. Grate some fresh Parmesan on top.
Season with salt and pepper. Do the hula for good luck.
3. Bake until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Pour yourself a glass of chardonnay and enjoy. We sure did.