Asparagus has just hit the farmers markets here in San Diego, beginning in late February. I wanted to make a tart featuring asparagus that was not overpowered by either bacon or pancetta. Roquefort provided the salt and depth I wanted, allowing the asparagus to be the highlight of the dish. Not much of a pie crust fan, I tried for more of a crisp pastry with a boost of flavor from the cheese added to the crust. Serve this rich tart in small slices for a starter or snack. —Lizthechef
6-8 as a starter
single, unbaked pie crust
scallions, chopped, white and light green parts only
asparagus stalks, trimmed, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
Once your crust has been prepared and properly chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the crust on a floured surface. Sprinkle bits of the cheese onto the crust and lightly press into the pastry, using your fingers. Gently settle crust into a ceramic quiche dish, cheese side up, brush with egg wash and prick with a fork across surface.
Bake crust for 20 minutes, or until browned. Remove from oven and add filling. (Leave the oven on).
While the crust is browning, saute scallions in small pan for a minute or two and set aside. Blanch asparagus in boiling, salted water for about two minutes. Drain and "shock" in ice water. Dry on paper towels and set aside. Beat the eggs with the cream and season to taste.
Once the crust has browned, distribute asparagus, scallions and cheese evenly over the crust. Gently pour the custard over all. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.