Saturday, April 9, 2011
Spring Onion and Asparagus Tart
Spring is in the air in the Bay Area.
Last weekend, my good friend Helen and I ventured to the farmer’s market at the San Francisco Ferry Building. Our goal is to visit at least once month to discover the season’s treats. It was a beautiful spring morning, not too chilly or warm, just perfect. I actually wore my favorite pair of flip flops with a light jacket.
It takes just about 25 minutes to get the market and we leave early enough that it is not overly congested. With our reusable bags in hand, we traditionally stop at the Downtown Bakery & Creamery first. These folks drive down every Saturday from Healdsburg to make people smile and sell their magnificent baked goods. My favorite is the Almond Tart. It is savory, rich, flakey and buttery – simply divine and the ultimate almond tart.
I purchased a couple treats for my husband, specifically the jam pockets. I enjoyed a savory cheddar cheese scone that was to die for. I picked up gorgeous golden fingerling potatoes, last of the season Brussels sprouts, asparagus, purple spring onions and several other goodies.
One of my newest finds was Happy Girl Kitchen Company. They currently reside on the central coast of California and create the most wonderful jams, pickles and tomato based products. I purchased the award winning Apricot Chili Jam and the Strawberry Lavender Jam.
Of course we could not miss visiting inside the Ferry Building and a stop at Cowgirl Creamery is a must. Helen brought a cooler full of ice in anticipation of purchasing some wonderful cheeses. Typically we try new cheeses to broaden our palates. Our visit was no exception. My husband is a huge fan of sheep milk cheeses. I found three wonderful choices to bring home: Cave aged Gruyere Emmi, Lamb Chopper and Goat Gouda.
After our visit to the farmers market we headed over to 4th street in Berkeley for a bit of shopping and lunch. My favorite shops there are Anthropologie, The Gardener, CB2 and Crate and Barrel outlet.
We dined outside at Café Rouge and started with a Blood Orange Soda made from fresh squeezed blood oranges. We first enjoyed La Quercia Prosciutto with marinated baby artichokes, olives and bread sticks. Next was a gorgeous Cheese Plate with a cow, sheep and goat cheese selection. Lastly we savored a stunning Mushroom and Cheddar Cheese Tart. Of course we had to share a dessert and chose the Beignet with Pineapple Meringue Sauce and Meyer Lemon Ice Cream. The dessert was too die for!!
The mushroom tart and goodies from the farmers market were my inspiration for the Spring Onion and Asparagus Tart. My husband said this was one of my best tarts and asked me to make it again real soon. Enjoy!
Spring Onion and Asparagus Tart
1/3 C. Ricotta
3 T. Sour cream or crème Fraiche
1 Egg yolk
½ t. Salt
½ t. Pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
6 Stalks of fresh asparagus, shaved with veggie peeler
2 Spring onions, sliced thin
¼ C. Parmesan cheese
1 t. Truffle oil
3 T. Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside until ready to assemble tart
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg yolk + 1 t. water, mix in a small bowl
Let one sheet of the puff pastry thaw until it is soft enough to lay flat. Be careful to not let get too warm. Roll on a lightly floured board and run the rolling pin over it a couple times.
Cut with a sharp knife into four even pieces. With a sharp knife cut almost to the bottom of pastry a square that is about ¾ inch from the edge to form a square within a square. Lightly brush with a pastry brush around the edges of the square but not in the center.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven on a non-stick cookie sheet. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
Spoon the filling in the center of each tart and divide the asparagus mixture among each tart. Return to the 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. The edges should be golden brown and the filling set to a light firmness. Enjoy alone or with a light salad.