Asparagus is available all year round, but it’s best during spring. It’s the vegetable that heralds the arrival of this season. It’s also so versatile and easy to prepare that you can serve it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
April is its peak. I made this Asparagus Tart last Easter, and it became the star of our brunch.
To make you need a sheet of puff pastry; you can get this frozen from any grocery store. I bought the Dufour brand from our local Whole Foods. Keep in mind that you must defrost it for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator for the easiest handling.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Roll out your pastry crust into a rectangle roughly 10 x 16 inches on a lightly floured surface. Make sure to trim uneven edges. Carefully place this on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Then, lightly score your pastry dough with a sharp knife all around one inch from the edge. With a fork, prick dough inside the marking you just made. Then bake it for around 12 minutes, and use a timer. When done, cool slightly.
Wash your asparagus and trim and cut the lower fibrous end. Blanch your asparagus for 2-3 minutes until they are bright green, then drain and quickly immerse in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain and pat dry and set aside.
In a bowl, mix 1 cup grated fontina, 1 cup grated gruyere cheese (you may substitute Swiss or Emmental), two large egg yolks, 3 Tbsp. Milk, 1/4 tsp. Salt and pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Pour the cheese mixture evenly on your puff pastry. Meanwhile, drizzle your asparagus with some olive oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Arrange your asparagus on top of the cheese mixture, then sprinkle with lemon zest. Bake for another 15-18 minutes until golden, and the cheese is puffy. Serve warm or at room temperature.