I know I said I’d write about what got the most requests on my question last week, but I haven’t had time to do a good job with the requests I got, so that will come at a later post. The top requests were for kale. Honestly, I’m a bit stumped. What, exactly, is the mystery? Put it in stuff? Ha! That would be my suggestion. Stir it into soups, toss it in salads and wilt it a bit with warm roasted chicken or hot bacon. However, I don’t want to be flippant, so I will look up some good uses for kale, the sad-replacement-for-chips, and get back to you. The other suggestion that intrigued me was for proper hash browns. My friend, Maria, said that she had tried them several times and hadn’t gotten that good, diner-esque texture to them. Honestly, I haven’t, either. So I am interested to look up ways to cook hash browns well and that will most definitely be a post, as it will be a learning process for me, as well.
Today I wanted to simply give you an awesome recipe that we had last night for dinner, as our “starter” dish. A beautiful use of asparagus (hey, Tracey, you asked for asparagus recipes, too!) and a lovely and exciting way to serve them that feels indulgent (bet you’ve never used that word in association with asparagus) and fun for children, and even doable for one-year-olds learning to eat bigger chunks of food. Olive ate about 6 bits of this tart and then she was done. I consider that a success.
Having a box of frozen puff pastry in your freezer at all times is a good move. This stuff can make you look like a fabulous cook in about 20 minutes. You can top it with anything and bake and have great appetizers, desserts, or a crust for a savory tart, like this one.
Also, I wanted to mention my deep love and perhaps borderline obsession with using up leftovers. My goal at the end of most weeks is for my fridge to be empty, save condiments and milk. It’s good to think of ways to use up your leftovers and I know no better way than to use eggs to achieve almost-better-than-the original-meal leftovers. This morning, I took leftover pieces of the asparagus tart and fried an egg and put it on top. Lots of fresh ground pepper and a few drops of hot sauce. So good.
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 bundle of fresh asparagus, ends snipped and cut in half, length-wise (I found that this helped them cook faster than the original recipe)
Olive oil to coat the asparagus – 2 tbs
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
2 oz shredded Manchego cheese - Parmesan or Swiss would also work
Preheat the oven to 400F. On a greased, rimmed baking sheet, roll out your puff pastry to about 9×13″ rectangle. Poke all over the bottom with a fork and bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Toss your asparagus in olive oil. When the pastry comes out, it will have shrunk. It’s okay, I swear. Cover the tart in the shredded cheese and lay your asparagus spears side by side, touching, and alternating head to toe (this just makes more asparagus fit and it looks prettier.)
Sprinkle the top of the tart with salt and pepper. If you have leftover asparagus spears, just place them, cut side down, on the baking sheet around the tart. They turned out to be gloriously crispy when they came out. Bake for 25 minutes until the asparagus is nicely wilted and slightly browned. Let cool slightly, cut with a sharp knife into squares and serve!
In the morning, heat leftovers in a 350F oven and fry an egg to place on top. Enjoy with a cup of coffee and try not to think about the fact that it’s only Wednesday.
*original recipe from Martha Stewart Living