This light but satisfying tart has something for everyone to love – crispy well-seasoned roasted asparagus, creamy whipped goat cheese, and a crinkly crackly phyllo crust!
A month in, we’re all still trying to make sense of the world putting itself on pause. I used to rarely go a month without setting foot on a plane. Now it’s been a month since I’ve set foot outside my neighborhood. A few days where we didn’t even leave the house, except to take little man out into the backyard to play on his playset.
Work hasn’t slowed down. If anything, it’s busier than ever, for both Scott and me. And we now have a toddler in the mix. But somehow, we’re making it all work. Oh, it’s definitely not glamorous. The house gets cleaned occasionally, but not often enough to keep us from noticing dust bunnies on the stairs as we trudge up to bed. There’s a pile of laundry at the foot of the bed that may get folded and put away this month, or we might just keep fishing clothes out day by day.
But there’s definitely an upside to being home. Everyone is fed home-cooked meals that might have more canned products and pantry staples in them than usual, but are still delicious and healthy. We may have tossed a DiGiorno deep dish into the oven once or twice, but we haven’t ordered out in the past month, and I quit my Starbucks habit cold turkey. We spend a lot more time stomping in puddles outside and digging in the dirt I’ve prepped for our spring garden than we have in ages. I may actually get my spring garden into the ground on time for us to have fresh veggies!
I’ve found that some of our long meetings and briefings that I’m expected to attend but have no speaking role in are the perfect time to dial in, stick my headphones in, disable my microphone, and go for a run. For others, I take my phone and my son into the backyard and add my two cents between turns kicking a ball around.
And I’ve been working my way farther and farther down into the freezer and using up all those things I bought on a whim before I started much more deliberate meal planning and grocery shopping, and discovering new things we love and want to keep in our recipe rotation.
I have a number of different breakfast and appetizer tarts that I usually make with puff pastry. I almost always have some hiding in the freezer. But when I was working on a nice bright spring tart, something that would help me make use of the beautiful bunch of asparagus I had that was threatening to wilt on me, I discovered I’d hoarded something else. Phyllo dough. Three boxes of phyllo dough.
Phyllo dough is tissue thin Greek pastry dough that you can use for lots of different things. Little breakfast or appetizer cups. Baklava. Spanakopita. It contains very little fat, so you brush the sheets with melted butter or olive oil to help them stick when you layer them together. The bonus is that you can make them as thick or as thin as you like.
It can be a little tricky to work with. Defrost it in the fridge and not on the counter so it doesn’t get gummy and stick together, or defrost unevenly. And keep it from drying out. It can get brittle really quickly, so keep it covered with plastic wrap until you’re ready to work with it. Although if a sheet does tear on you, it’s pretty easy to stick back together again.
And it makes the perfect base for this cheesy springtime tart. I serve this one up for breakfast, sometimes topped with a soft-boiled egg, but it’s also great as an afternoon snack, paired with a glass of sparkling white wine!
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Tart
- April 15, 2020
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- 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
- olive oil
- 10-12 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
- 6 oz goat cheese, softened
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 oz parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Step 1
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Step 2
- Spread the asparagus out on the baking sheet in an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Step 3
- Roast 10-12 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender. Set aside to cool.
- Step 4
- Line the baking sheet again with parchment paper. Unroll the phyllo dough and lay a sheet on the parchment paper. Brush lightly with olive oil and layer with another sheet. Repeat until you have layered all the sheets you want for your crust.
- Step 5
- Bake the pastry for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn a light golden brown.
- Step 6
- Stir together the goat cheese, cream cheese, and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and beginning to get fluffy. Season the cheese lightly with salt and pepper, and spread over the phyllo dough crust, leaving about a 1-inch border at the edges.
- Step 7
- Arrange the asparagus spears in a single layer over the goat cheese. Season again lightly and return the baking sheet to the oven for 8 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
- Step 8
- Spread the parmesan cheese over the top of the asparagus and return to the oven for 1-2 minutes, or just enough to melt the parmesan.
- Step 9
- Let cool slightly, and then remove from the baking sheet and slice. Serve warm!
Let me tell you, if you can serve this up just a little bit warm when the goat cheese is still all melted and gooey and delicious, it’s a thing of beauty!
So that’s me. I’m home and working like crazy and running after my toddler and my wine supply chain is being tested but I’m okay. I hope and pray all of you are, too.
Congrats on making it through the first month of the World Pause!