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Try Seasonal Asparagus in this Tart


Kathleen's Asparagus TartToday I chatted, as I always do with Annie Mitchell on the Sonrise Morning Show Sacred Heart Radio. The topic was asparagus, which we grow. Her’s some fun Biblical facts about asparagus and a wonderful, easy tart, perfect for Mother’s Day!

 

ASPARAGUS

Not mentioned specifically in the Bible, Asparagus has been used as a vegetable and medicine, since about 3000 BC. The ancient Egyptians and Syrians held it in high esteem, and the Greeks and Romans ate it fresh in season and dried the vegetable for winter use. The name asparagus comes from the Greek word meaning “shoot”.

As far back as the first century AD, Romans cultivated asparagus in walled gardens, and the varieties produced supposedly had such big shoots that 3 asparagus shoots weighed about a pound.  We grow our own asparagus and we get pretty big spears, but not like that. And I love the fact that asparagus is a perennial coming up reliably every year.   The Romans froze the asparagus high in the Alps for eating during celebrations in the winter.

 

What’s the difference between white and green asparagus?

White and green asparagus are the same plant, but white asparagus is the result of a blanching technique. The shoots are covered with soil as they grow, i.e. earthed up; without exposure to sun so no photosynthesis starts, so the shoots remain white.

Cooking White Asparagus

White asparagus has a tough, bitter peel that must be removed before cooking. Lower into simmering water in single layer and cook until tender but not mushy, anywhere from a few minutes to up to 20 or so, depending upon the thickness. (you can add some salt, lemon juice and butter if you like)

Health aspects: 

Asparagus has less than four calories per spear, no fat or cholesterol and low sodium. In addition, it is a rich source of potassium and vitamins, fiber, calcium and iron and it contains some protein!

Cooking Green Asparagus

So many ways! Steam, grill, roast, broil. Whatever you like. I snap the tough ends off. The part that’s tough will snap off easily.

 

Asparagus Tart with Gruyere or Swiss Cheese

This was so delicious and made by Kathleen Kennedy for a presentation I had with Ron Wilson.

Flour, for work surface

1 sheet frozen puff pastry

Approx 8 oz  Gruyere or S

wiss  cheese, shredded

1 bunch medium or thin asparagus

olive oil

Salt and pepper

Fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals.

Fill the rectangle with Gruyere or swiss. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over cheese , alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle parm on top. Bake until spears are tender, 15-20 minutes.

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