It’s never a bad idea to have a simple, tasty appetizer recipe on hand for a last-minute stopover from guests. Good thing that along with Mashed, Kristen Carli, a registered dietician, has created that perfect, easy snack to throw together when time is limited but you still want to impress friends or family. Her asparagus tart requires just a few ingredients that you can easily keep on hand and bakes up in just 15 minutes. Still, this dish is sure to leave your guests thinking you are basically Martha Stewart.
And even though Carli told us about her tart, "This doesn’t keep great as leftovers," it’s okay, because as she added, "It won’t last anyway." So, get ready for the compliments — and for friends to ask for this recipe. Sorry, at that point, you won’t be able to keep it quiet how effortlessly this elegant-looking snack is to prepare.
Grab a few quick ingredients for this asparagus tart
To pull of this pretty asparagus tart, simply shop for and keep at the ready a sheet of puff pastry, garlic and herb Boursin cheese, asparagus, and fresh thyme leaves — although Carli notes that dried thyme works here, too. Meanwhile, if you are wondering what Boursin cheese is, you are not alone.
Carli explained to Mashed that this "is a particular brand of cheese that is usually mixed with herbs and is very soft in nature." She adds that the ingredient is "whipped cream cheese-like in texture." But don’t fret if you can’t find it, with Carli advising, "Crème fraîche works great too. Just be sure to mix it with some dried herbs like dried basil and dried oregano."
Once you have your puff pastry, cheese, herbs, and asparagus at the ready, you are honestly halfway to getting this app on the table. Just keep your guests flush with wine, and the food will be out soon.
Assemble the asparagus tart
Go ahead and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit to cook your asparagus tart. You will thaw out your puff pastry and then unroll it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Now, spread your Boursin cheese or homemade herb-infused crème fraîche evenly over the pastry, being sure to use a light touch so as not to tear the pastry. On top of the cheese layer, you will arrange your asparagus — which, nope, you do not even need to cook ahead of time. Carli noted, "I trim the ends off the asparagus to dispose of the tough stems."
Meanwhile, it is totally worth noting that asparagus is very good for you, and contains vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, zinc, manganese, and selenium. So, not only are you treating your guests to a yummy snack, you are helping them boost their vitamin and nutrient intake. Go you!
Bake and serve your asparagus tart
Okay, so this asparagus tart dish is as easy as pie to pull off, but there is still a way to mess it up — overcooking it, to be specific. So, Carli advises home cooks, "Watch the pastry in the oven to make sure it does not get burnt." Our recipe advises that you leave it in the oven for about 15 minutes, but that really depends on how hot your oven gets, so keep a close eye on it.
Once the tart is golden brown, remove it from the oven. This is when you will sprinkle thyme leaves — either fresh or dried — on top of the tart to boost the flavor. If your crowd is a fan of heat, Carli recommends that "a bit of black pepper or crushed red chili flakes would be a great way to add a bit of spice."
Finally, slice up your savory confection, and serve it to your friends. And remember, don’t say we didn’t warn you — they are sure to be impressed!