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.
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.
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.
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.