Asparagus lovers will enjoy this gruyere tart, a beautiful presentation dish for parties or potlucks.
By Rosemarie Aquilina
Photography by Viviana Pernot
My family loves variation in meals, and sometimes I serve a variety of appetizers with a salad for brunch or a light dinner. Over the last several years, I have not only added this asparagus Gruyere tart to our extended family get-togethers, but I have taken it to potlucks. It is a way I can serve vegetables to my children because it is more like fancy pizza. The guests I entertain always think this was made by a caterer! It’s easy to adjust to your taste and creates a beautiful table.
Asparagus Gruyere Tart
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
Honey Dijon mustard or honey Dijon mustard with balsamic vinegar
12-ounce block Gruyere or baby Swiss if preferred, grated about 3 cups (if desired, add mozzarella and blend the cheeses)
8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 ½ pounds small to medium fresh asparagus, not thick (Look for the same thickness for even cooking. I prefer small asparagus, but if I can only find mixed bundles of small and medium, I make Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus — see page 50.)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (I prefer one infused with garlic or lemon)
Salt and pepper (or my 3 Mix: Salt, Pepper, Garlic)
4-6 thin slices prosciutto, cut into 1 to 1 ½-inch pieces
1 red pepper, cored, cleaned, diced small
1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon water
Balsamic glaze, purchase or make (this is a balsamic reduction, any variety you like works)
Grated lemon zest, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place defrosted puff pastry sheets on the baking sheet, if using 2 sheets, press them together. You can overlap the edges a bit to connect them. Lightly score the edge to make a rectangle around the sheet about ¾ inch away from the edge, careful to only score, not cut through.
Bake pastry until lightly golden 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and let sit while you prepare asparagus.
Brush Dijon on the pastry to coat up to the scored edge, leaving the outer edge clean.
Sprinkle cheese on the bottom inside scoring.
Trim bottoms of asparagus to fit between the scored edges. (Do not blanch the asparagus.)
Layer as follows inside scored area: (This is like building a pizza.)
Sprinkle with cheeses you’ve selected.
Lay asparagus in a single layer, alternating heads and base of asparagus from edge of scoring to opposite edge.
Brush asparagus lightly with olive oil.
Season lightly with salt and pepper (or the 3 Mix).
Sprinkle the prosciutto evenly over asparagus.
Sprinkle the small diced red pepper over asparagus.If desired, over the asparagus you can add grated cauliflower, peas or other toppings you prefer — think fancy pizza. You can sprinkle a little more cheese over top, if desired, but it’s not necessary.
Brush outer edge with egg wash: Whisk 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of cold water. This will make the edge shiny.
Place in middle oven rack and bake 20 minutes. Cooking time may be a little more or less depending on your oven. Asparagus should be tender.
Remove from oven. You can sprinkle grated lemon zest over it if desired.
Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Slice and enjoy!
If you have family members or guests who do not eat puff pastry or you simply have leftover asparagus, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus can be made quickly and will satisfy everyone. It’s wonderful as is or served with steak and your favorite potatoes!
12 stalks medium asparagus, bottoms trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 thin-sliced prosciutto, cut in half making 12
Pepper and garlic powder mixed (salt will come from the prosciutto)
Grated lemon zest
Balsamic reduction glaze
Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place asparagus on sheet and drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat.
Wrap each asparagus with prosciutto (head and base will show).
Lay on baking sheet.
Sprinkle with pepper and garlic powder, lightly.
Broil 3-4 minutes on each side until asparagus is cooked and prosciutto is crispy, not burned.
Remove to serving platter.
Sprinkle with lemon zest and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.
Have a cooking question for Judge Aquilina? Leave your question in the comments below!
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