April 30, 2012
We are heading into this season of events and celebrations— Mother’s Day, Baby Showers, Wedding Showers, Teacher Appreciation Luncheons, Graduations, Law School Graduations, Kindergarten Graduations, Doggy Training School Graduations… are you exhausted yet? So, I thought I would share this wonderful savory tart recipe that Chef Julie Robles made at a recent cooking class. It’s perfect for all of the above!
At the class, we were taught how to make our own puff pastry from scratch. Let me tell you, it’s a quite a process, but worth the crispy, golden, delight of the effort. Plus, it fully makes you feel like a rockstar in your own kitchen — and who doesn’t need that? However, feel free to use regular puff pastry from the freezer section for this tart. I always make sure to keep some on hand for recipes just like these. Savory tarts are often overlooked, and it’s a shame because they are such delicious showcases for fresh produce.
At first glance, this may look complicated, but it really is a series of simple steps. You can prepare all the components in advance and then just assemble and bake. It’s a great passed appetizer served in neat triangles, a wonderful side dish (we had it alongside slow roasted salmon) or serve it nestled next to a green salad as a plated first course.
Asparagus & Swiss Chard Tart
Adapted from the talented Suzanne Goin
1 sheet puff pastry
2 extra large egg yolks
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced young onions
1/3 cup sliced green garlic
1 large bunch Swiss chard, cleaned and sliced
1 lb. asparagus, sliced on the diagonal and lightly blanched
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, drained if wet
1/4 cup crème fraiche
3/4 lb. aged goat cheese, coarsely grated
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll the puff pastry into a 12 by 6 inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Gently place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a paring knife to score a 1/4 border around the edge of the pastry. Make an egg wash by whisking 1 egg yolk with 1/4 tsp. water and brush the egg wash along the border. Place the puff in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in 3 tablespoons olive oil and add the green garlic, cook just until soft and toss in the young onions and the thyme. Season with about a 1/2 tsp. of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Continue cooking until the onions are just wilted. Transfer to a platter to cool.
Wipe out the pan and add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil. Heat for one minute and add half of the Swiss chard, tossing the chard in the oil until it is just wilted. Add the second half of the chard and season with 1/4 tsp. salt and some black pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the greens are tender. Transfer to a platter to cool. When they are completely cooled, squeeze out the excess water with your hands.
Place the ricotta and the remaining egg yolk in the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth and remove to a mixing bowl. Gently fold in the crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper.
Remove puff from freezer.
Place the ricotta mixture on the puff pastry within the scored border. Place the goat cheese over the ricotta mixture. Arrange the green garlic, onions and Swiss chard on top.
Bake the tart for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. At this point, remove the tart from the oven and scatter the asparagus over the top of the tart. Return the tart to the oven and finish cooking until the cheese is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Lift the crust to make sure that it is completely cooked and golden brown underneath.
Cool slightly and cut into triangles.