This lovely Springtime Asparagus Tart will be the star of your brunch between its garlic-laced asparagus and mushrooms, savory ham and Swiss, and flaky, buttery crust.
Back when I was a newlywed, childless, first grade teacher, there was a brief span of time during which I spent my evenings each week making hundreds upon hundreds of cookies. As much as I enjoyed teaching and loved the kids I taught, at times there was a part of me that felt pulled in the direction of a culinary endeavor.
I didn't particularly know where that urge was going to lead -- for instance, opening up my own bakery one day would be out of the question because that involves waking up each morning at an hour during which I am unable to function. But I figured that selling large, individually packaged, homemade cookies every Saturday might just help me figure it out.
Well, the cookies went over well but the one-man show, cookie dough-making, cookie baking/cooling/packaging/labeling wore me down pretty quickly. So almost as quickly as Samantha's Sweets Gourmet Bake Shop began, it was closing its oven door. And to be perfectly honest, it was about three years later before I even had the desire to bake another cookie -- ha! But maybe, just maybe, that cookie shop endeavor was an early indicator that the drive behind this food blog has been percolating in the back of my mind for many years now.
Anyhoo, you may find yourself wondering what in the heck that story has to do with this recipe. But for me, there is an association between the two because at the same time that I was peddling cookies at the Farmers Market, I was also contributing recipes to the Farmers Market website. And the very first recipe I can remember posting was this Springtime Asparagus Tart.
I recall trying to come up with a seasonal recipe that would scream spring, and what's more spring-like than asparagus? While asparagus is definitely a predominant ingredient in this recipe, let's not allow it to overshadow the other delicious components. First off, there's the flaky, rich, all-butter pie crust (and if you use my favorite recipe, that crust also happens to be easy to make!), which you fit into a tart pan to make it feel a little fancier than a regular ol' quiche. Then to fill that crust, you sautee some fresh asparagus and thinly-sliced mushrooms with minced garlic until crisp-tender. Toss that mixture into your pre-baked crust along with shredded Swiss, diced ham (leftover Easter ham works great, but crispy cooked bacon would also be yummy!), fresh parsley, and an egg mixture. Then simply bake it off and, ta-daaaa! You have a scrumptious, beautiful tart, bursting with colors and textures and, oh yeah, vibrant spring veggies.
As with many of the recipes that I cook, my picky middle child is often the barometer of success in my kitchen. And upon eating his slice of asparagus tart a few night ago, his sweet, enthusiastic, 4-year-old voice piped up, "Mama! I suuuuure do enjoy your dinner."
That, my friends, is called score one for Mama.
I think this tart would be lovely whether you enjoy it for brunch, lunch, or a light supper. It's excellent warm from the oven, or it's perfectly tasty at room temperature. And it's just the thing to balance out all of those Farmers Market cookies. 😉
More Tasty Spring Side Dishes
- Slow Cooker Honey Cinnamon Carrots
- Creamy Spring Peas with Bacon & Mint
- Parmesan Panko Asparagus
- Quick & Easy Garlic Rosemary Cloverleaf Rolls
Springtime Asparagus Tart with Ham and Mushrooms
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Homemade Butter Pie Crust, OR store-bought 9-inch pie crust
- 1 cup shredded Gruyére OR Swiss cheese, DIVIDED
- 1 cup cubed ham
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup half-and-half OR milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into a 13-inch circle. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom; trim edges. Place crust in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to chill.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove crust from refrigerator and prick all over with a fork. Press foil into bottom and up sides of crust, covering edges. Fill foil with pie weights, dry (uncooked) beans, or dry (uncooked) rice. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove weights and foil and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese (which will melt and create a layer to further prevent crust from getting soggy).
- While crust is baking, trim 2 inches from the top of each asparagus spear; set tops aside. Trim 1-inch from the tough ends of the spears and discard. Cut remaining stems into 3/4-inch pieces.
- Coat the bottom of a 12-inch skillet with oil and butter and heat over medium-high. Sauté asparagus pieces and mushrooms for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes more or until asparagus is crisp-tender and liquid has evaporated.
- Place the asparagus-mushroom mixture, ham, and parsley on top of cheese at bottom of crust. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, half-and-half, salt, and pepper; pour into crust. Arrange reserved asparagus tops over egg mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean and edges of crust are light golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.