Asparagus Tart with Polenta Crust
Serves 6 to 8
For the crust:
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
3/4 cup white or whole-wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus more for pan
1/2 ounce parmesan cheese grated
3-4 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
1 bunch of asparagus
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup crème fraîche (or full-fat sour cream)
1/2 cup grated Gruyere or other firm cow’s milk cheese (about 2 ounces)
3 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground white pepper
1. Prepare the Crust:
Butter a 9 or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the cornmeal, flour, parmesan, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse until well combined. Add the cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3 tablespoons of ice water and pulse. Stop the food processor and remove a tablespoon or two of the dough gently squeeze the dough. It should hold and not be crumbly. If it is crumbly then add another teaspoon of water and test again. Shape into a ball.
2. Place the ball on a 14” piece of waxed paper and roll out into a 12-14 inch circle. Or press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator or until the dough is chilled through.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the prepared crust on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 15 minutes to slightly dry out the top. This will keep the crust from becoming soggy when you add the filling.
Prepare the Filling:
4. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add the shallots and a pinch of salt cook stirring regularly until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
5. Rinse the asparagus. Remove the tough part of the stem by snapping each spear near the base then trimming with a knife to make a smooth cut. Cut into 1-inch pieces on the bias. Reheat the sauté pan with the shallots and garlic along with another tablespoon of olive oil; when hot add the asparagus and a pinch of salt cook stirring and sautéing just until they’ve released their liquid and are soft, about 3-5 minutes
6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, crème fraîche, Gruyere, eggs, herbs, salt, and pepper.
7. Set the tart pan with prepared crust onto a baking sheet for easy transport Pour over the custard mixture. Arrange the asparagus on top of the crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the filling is completely set. Let cool for 5 minutes, unmold the tart and serve.
Copyright © Julie Logue Riordan, Cooking with Julie