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Asparagus, mashed potatoes, cheese and SPRING

May 28, 2012

Contrary to public opinion, Memorial Day weekend is not the beginning of summer and Labor Day is not the end of summer. Summer officially begins June 21st and ends September 22nd. On this note- keep enjoying all the great spring asparagus that has been appearing in markets since March– all sizes, thin, thick, etc.  And the wonderful white variety! Asparagus has long been thought of as a spring vegetable, but thanks to   modern agriculture you can find fresh asparagus longer than just the spring months.

Spring also brings new mediums to my palette– the abstract “red-tipped asparagus” is a combination drawing, of acrylic and black ink, with charcoal. Looking at any object “close-up” and for a length of time can make it seem other-wordly, and you can see nuances you’ve never seen before, in things as common as a table, leaf, your left big toe or asparagus. The slender long lengths of the stalks and the bud-like appendages seem like mountains and the outlines look like dripping long straight rivers or roads. NOT arranged like spokes on a wheel as on the tart, but raised upward in mountain fashion.

Here’s to mashed potatoes, cheese and ASPARAGUS!

Asparagus & Mashed Potato herb tart

Ingredients:

2 large or 3 small Yukon gold potatoes- peeled and cut into chunks

1  approx. 10”X 10” sheet of puff pastry (frozen, usually comes 2 to a box)

1 pound of fresh asparagus spears

6 tablespoons butter

¾ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup grated fontina cheese

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 eggs

1 cup half & half

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 dashes of cayenne

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh dill

flour for rolling pastry

  1. Read directions on puff pastry box, the sheet may need to set out at room temperature before using.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Grease or use a non-stick baking spray to a tart pan, or a 10 “ square or  shallow baking dish or sheet.
  4. Remove  woody lower ends of asparagus by taking a small bundle of 3-4 stalks and gently bending till they snap. The point at which they naturally break is where the lower woody stem begins. Discard the lower pieces. (This may not be a preference/needed if asparagus, if very young & thin.)
  5. Blanch asparagus in a pot of boiling water for approx.2 -3 minutes, until bright green and still slightly crisp.  Drain and set aside.
  6. Put chunks of potato in a pot of salted boiling water and cook for approx.. 15 minutes or until fork tender/done. Drain(don’t rinse) and set aside in large bowl.
  7. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in pan on medium to low heat, add onion and cook, stirring often, till onions just start to brown, about 6 minutes. Take onion out of pan and place in bowl with cooked potatoes
  8. Mash the potato chunks with onion, salt, pepper, cayenne, 3 tablespoons butter, parmesan, fontina, dill, and parsley.
  9. In small bowl, whisk three eggs and ½ & half together. Add to the mashed potato mixture.

10. Lightly flour a clean surface and place pastry sheet on top. Lightly flour top of pastry sheet and roll sheet in an outward direction, stretching it slightly, adding another 1” or so to all sides. (Do not roll out to be paper thin, just stretching slightly) Move sheet over to the pan. All corners may not meet at first— trim edges to the pan leaving a very small edge. If there are areas that did not reach- take trimmed pieces of pastry dough and fill in gaps if needed. Perfection is not needed,–rough, rustic edges are quite nice.

11. After dough is in the pan, prick all over the bottom and sides of dough/pastry with a fork

12. Pour mashed potato filling into pastry shell. Arrange the asparagus stalks on top of the mashed potato mixture in any design. If using a square dish, they could just be lined up in a row.

13. Bake approx. 20 minutes until potato filling is set and lightly browned.

“Red Tipped Asparagus”, by R. Stallworth, mixed media drawing, 16 X 20, 2012

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One Comment
  1. Yay!!! So glad to see some new artwork from you (It’s lovely.). Very nice post sis. Keep it up! 🙂

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