Saturday, October 18, 2008

White and Green Asparagus Tart

Amy and Jonny from We Are Never Full are our hosts for this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I'm wrapped my hands around some White Asparagus.

white asparagus© by Haalo

While regular old green Asparagus can be found just about everywhere at this time of the year, White Asparagus requires a little more effort.

There's no genetic difference between the two, the only difference is absence of light as it grows. Chlorophyll, the green pigment needs light for photosynthesis to occur and in turn give asparagus its green colour.

As an aside if you ever wanted to extract Chlorophyll, here's a post that explains the process.

If you are growing asparagus at home and would like to produce some white asparagus, the old fashioned process is to mould the soil around the spear has it grows - the soil stops light from hitting the spear.

White Asparagus contains Vitamins A and C as well as Calcium, Folate, Iron and Zinc. In Green Asparagus you'll also find high levels of Vitamin K.

In the recipe I've made, I will also be using Green Asparagus

green asparagus© by Haalo

to create a two tone tart. Alternating stripes of white and green asparagus are set on top of a leek and green asparagus filling which is bathed in a creamy egg mixture and baked until golden.

white and green asparagus tart© by Haalo


White and Green Asparagus Tart
[Makes an 18cmx28cm tart]

5 spears White Asparagus
10 spears Green Asparagus
1 large leek, quartered and finely diced, about 150 grams
6 sheets filo pastry
3 eggs
½ cup cream
½ cup milk
salt and freshly ground white pepper


Prepare the White Asparagus:
Remove the woody ends and trim the asparagus to fit across the tart tin. Slice the asparagus in half lengthways and set aside.

Prepare the Green Asparagus:
Remove the woody ends and trim 5 Aspargus to fit across the tart tin. Slice these in half lengthways and place with the white asparagus. Blanch these spears in boiling water for about 1 minute - drain immediately. These will be used to top the tart.

Slice the remaining Asparagus into discs - be sure to incorporate any of the white and green asparagus trimmings to this. You should end up with about 150 grams of sliced Asparagus, though you don't need to be precise with these quantities.

Make the filling:
Sauté the asparagus and leek gently in a little butter until softened but not coloured. Season with salt and white pepper and then set aside to cool before using.

Make the tart:
Take six sheets of filo pastry - sandwich each layer with melted butter and then use them to line the tart tin.

Lightly scatter over the filling, ensuring it evenly covers the base of the tart.

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Lightly whisk the eggs with cream and milk, season with a little salt before pouring it over the filling.

Carefully lay alternating coloured slices of asparagus over the tart - make sure you alternate the spear direction as well.

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Bake in a preheated 160°C/320°F oven until golden and the pastry is crisp, about 30 minutes.

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Let it cool for a few minutes in the tart to allow the mixture to settle - you'll notice that the filling will have puffed out when you first remove it from the oven. As soon as it deflates, it is ready to serve.

13 comments:

  1. Absolutely gorgeous. I'm guessing everyone loves to come to dinner at your house!

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  2. your tart looks deliciously elegant - asparagus season is such a wonderful time :-)

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  3. Oh yum, I could dive into that right now!

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  4. Thanks Kalyn - I haven't had any complaints yet so I'll take that as a good sign!

    Thanks Johanna - asparagus season is a great time of year.

    Thanks Le Laquet!

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  5. fabulous!!! thanks so much for your entry. wonderful pictures!

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  6. Beautiful photos Haalo!

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  7. Delicious! I love how you mixed the green and white asparagus.

    Paz

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  8. I love asparagus, this tart looks so good.
    Your photos are beautiful!
    Stacey

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  9. This dish looks absolutely delicious! I have never seen white asparagus yet. I guess, we can make use of purely green asparagus in this dish, but it wont look as pretty! :)

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  10. OK - so when I made the comment about food porn the other week, you didn't have to take it this far! But there's no-one else in the world I'd have as my book illustrator, if I ever reach the point where I write one.

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  11. I keep wondering what kind of glass you use. The pictures looks so amazing.

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  12. Thanks Amy and Jonny!

    Thanks Holler!

    Thanks Paz - I'll have to make one just for you;)

    Thanks Stacey!

    Thanks Ning - it would taste just as good with all green asparagus.

    I just won't photograph any Asparagus for you Trig ;)

    Thanks Jude - it's a vintage lens, a manual micro-nikkor 55mm

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  13. As a huge fan of asparagus, this looks simply divine and delicious. Thank you for a great site and wonderful photos to inspire.

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