Does anybody else’s family purposely say certain words incorrectly because at some point (possibly many years ago) a child in the family mispronounced something and everybody else thought it was hilarious? Well, that’s why when I see this vegetable…
…I think “aspergrass”. It’s also why I often call cucumbers “cumberdubs” and occasionally refer to our President as “O-rock Bahama”.
Anyway, it’s almost spring, and almost spring means we’re approaching asparagus season! (I’ll use the correct word for the remainder of this post, I guess.) To help you celebrate this delightful veggie, I present an easy asparagus tart that uses store-bought puff pastry and features a tasty white-bean hummus filling.
Do not fear the entire head of garlic in the hummus–roasting garlic mellows out the flavor and makes it almost sweet. Once you’ve roasted it, the cloves should easily slide out of the papery skin.
You’ll only need about half of the hummus to cover the tart, so you’ll have plenty left over for dipping and sandwich making. Bonus!
Notes on dealing with the puff pastry: You’ll need one sheet from a standard-sized package. (I had one leftover from my parents’ anniversary brunch.) Defrost it overnight in the refrigerator, or on the counter for awhile if you don’t have all night. I dusted the counter with flour and rolled it out a bit, and then trimmed the edges to make a nice, tidy rectangle. Then I cut a border around the edge (not all the way through, just score it) so it looked like a picture frame, and poked the inside of the “frame” with a fork about every half-inch. This is so the border will puff up more than the inside, where you’ll be putting the hummus and asparagus.
This makes a nice appetizer if you cut it into small pieces, or you could add a salad and make a lunch or dinner of it. I’ll leave you with the full recipe, and wish you a sunny start to spring. Until next time, fair friends!
- one head of garlic
- 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans (aka white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
- zest and juice of one lemon
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- about 1 lb. asparagus
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- chopped chives, for garnish (other options: chopped scallion, fresh grated parmesan)
To roast the garlic: cut the entire head of garlic in half cross-wise, exposing all the cloves. Drizzle both halves with olive oil and wrap them in aluminum foil. Place the foil packet in a 400 degree oven, and roast for 30 minutes.
To make the hummus, squeeze the cooled, roasted garlic cloves out of the papery skin into the bowl of a food processor. Add the cannellini beans, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and process until smooth. (Taste and adjust seasoning of the hummus to suit your fancy.)
If you turned the oven off after roasting the garlic, preheat to 400 degrees once again. Lightly flour your work surface, and roll out the sheet of puff pastry until you have a rectangle that’s approximately 10×16″. Trim the edges if they’re uneven, and transfer the pastry to a baking sheet. Score the pastry around the edge of the rectangle, creating about a 1″ border. Then poke the pastry inside this border with a fork, about every half-inch. Cut the woody ends off the asparagus, and place the spears in a roasting pan. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the puff pastry and the asparagus both in the oven, and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and lightly browned and the asparagus is tender. Let both items cool enough to handle.
Wait to assemble the tart until shortly before you plan to serve. Spread the puff pastry with a layer of the white bean hummus, and then line up the asparagus spears on top. Sprinkle with chopped chives, if you’d like.