Disclosure: Sponsored Post. The County of Middlesex, Ontario paid me to develop this recipe to showcase county produce, for publication in their newsletter and sharing on my blog and social media platforms. But even if they didn’t pay me, I’d still eat local asparagus. This post is now updated to include the recipe for Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart.
There’s nothing like a country drive to buy some just-picked asparagus from a local farm. Meandering around your urban farmers market to get some there is also pleasant. Yes, asparagus is available year round, but I always make a point of buying local when it’s available.
Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart
This year I used the slender green spears to make an asparagus goat cheese tart. It’s not only easy, but elegant enough to grace the table for any occasion. It could be the main dish for a luncheon with a simple salad, or a starter for dinner.
For Ease and Presentation …
Using packaged phyllo sheets for the crust is easier than making a tart dough, and all those layers of crisp, golden edges look pretty spectacular, too. It’s simple to put together the goat cheese base … just four ingredients plus salt and pepper. I do like to take few minutes to arrange the asparagus on top in a pleasing pattern, alternating the tops and bottoms of the stems, and having the spear tops pointing in opposite directions.
Sometimes it’s those little touches that make all the difference. Presentation isn’t exactly my forte, but any of us can take a bit of time to arrange this pattern.
The First Bite
The first bite of this tart is nothing short of spectacular … shatteringly crisp phyllo, creamy goat cheese with aromatics and a hint of lemon, and that tender, flavourful asparagus. You won’t stop at one bite!
I developed this Asparagus Goat Cheese Tart recipe for the Middlesex County Economic Development Department as part of their Visit Middlesex initiative. The recipe was originally published in their Summer 2017 newsletter, but you can now find it below.
If you’re thinking of taking a food road trip through this beautiful agricultural county, check out the Middlesex-London Local Food Guide. It has everything you need: a list of who produces what, contact information, and a map to help you get there!
This recipe makes a lovely starter for dinner, or would be ideal served for lunch with a side salad of greens and local Middlesex strawberries.
I used a rectangular tart tin with a removable bottom for this tart, about 4 x 13 inches in size. If you don’t have a tin, you can make the tart on a baking tray, as explained below.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 3/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 2 or 3 pinches kosher salt divided
- 100 g plain goat cheese
- 1 small shallot
- 1 lemon for zesting, scrubbed
- 15 slender asparagus spears rinsed and drained
- 4 sheets phyllo pastry
Pre-heat the oven to 375 °F.
Place the olive oil in a ramekin. Crush a half clove of garlic, and add it to the oil with a pinch each of black pepper and kosher salt. Set aside to steep.
Place the goat cheese in a medium-sized bowl and break it up with a fork. Peel and mince the shallot and the other half clove of garlic, then add them to the goat cheese. Using a rasp, zest half of the lemon over the cheese. Then add 1/8 tsp of black pepper and a pinch or two of kosher salt. Stir the mixture well and set aside.
Slice the woody ends off the asparagus (enough that the spears are a little shorter than twice the width of the tart tin). Then cut them in half and rinse in a colander. Drain well and transfer to a bowl.
Spread the first sheet of phyllo on the counter or a large baking tray. (Cover remaining sheets with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out and becoming brittle.) Brush the oil mixture lightly over the entire sheet, making sure to cover all the edges. Lay the next sheet over top and repeat until all the sheets are oiled. (Retain the leftover oil.) Then cut the stack of phyllo into thirds width-wise. Transfer each stack to the tart tin, arranging so there’s a border of phyllo on all sides of the tin. Stir the goat cheese mixture again, then dollop it around the phyllo base. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly.
If you don’t have a tart tin, you can stack the cut phyllo sheets on a baking tray, brushing each layer with oil. There will be 12 layers in total. When you spread on the goat cheese mixture, leave a ¾-inch border around it.
Pour the remaining oil over the asparagus. Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp black pepper and a pinch of salt, and toss well. Arrange the asparagus over the goat cheese, alternating the tops and bottoms of the spears and the direction of the tips. Zest the rest of the lemon over the tart.
Set the tart tin on a baking tray, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the asparagus is cooked through and the phyllo is golden brown and crispy. Serve warm. For presentation, pop out the bottom of the tin, then carefully transfer the tart to a serving platter. Or, cut it in the kitchen and serve restaurant style.
- Follow the instructions on the box to ensure the phyllo is thawed before you need to work with it. The sheets are paper thin and will break if you handle them while too cold.
Looking for More Asparagus Ideas?
Asparagus season is closer than you think! Start collecting recipes now so you can enjoy it many ways. Here are a few more delicious things you can make with asparagus: asparagus and prosciutto pizza, asparagus soup with spinach and asparagus and onion frittata.
First Published 2017 07 05
Republished 2019 04 10