Asparagus, Leek and Parmigiano-Reggiano Tart

Easter is approaching fast and what could be better than digging into a vibrant green spring tart? This flaky delight couples sweet leeks, fresh asparagus, succulent pancetta and nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano with an Easter staple – an egg! Pleasing both the eye and the appetite, these delicious tarts are perfect for a celebratory brunch or lunch or even a picnic. Enjoy hot or cold!

Ingredients:

For 2 tarts à approx. 19x23cm

  • 1 ready-made puff pastry sheet
  • 1 large leek or two small ones
  • butter (approx. 15-20g for sautéing the leeks and another 10g for the asparagus)
  • 70g pancetta cubes
  • 125g asparagus tips (between 6-8 stalks per tart)
  • 50g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 eggs (2 medium or large and one small for glazing the edges of the dough)
  • cracked black pepper and salt to taste
  • parsley (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven.
  2. Unroll a sheet of ready-made puff pastry. Cut the dough in half. Then roll up each side to create a barrier of about 1-1.5cm width. Alternatively, instead of rolling up the sides, take a knife and lightly score a smaller rectangle into the dough. With a fork, prick the inside of the rectangle of each tart.
  3. Place the tarts in the oven and bake on the middle-rack for about 10 minutes at 190°C (fan) or Gas Mark 5 and then another 10 minutes on low heat (100°C, Gas Mark 1).
  4. In the meantime, wash the leeks and cut into thin slices. Place the slices in a colander and separate all individual rings by pushing them out with your fingers. Then wash the rings again under cold water.
  5. Melt butter in a pan. Then add the pancetta cubes and let them sizzle for a minute. Add the leek rings and cook until soft. Add a dash of salt if needed (the pancetta already adds saltiness) and some black pepper. Place the cooked leeks on a plate to cool.
  6. In the frying pan, melt some more butter. After washing the asparagus and cutting off the wooden lower part, place the stalks in the pan and sauté them for several minutes to slightly soften them. Take them off the heat and let them cool.
  7. Remove the tarts from the oven. If the middle of the dough has risen, take a fork or tablespoon and carefully push the dough down and let the risen edges stay up. Then divide the cooked leeks among the two tarts. Sprinkle half of the grated parmesan on top. Place either 3 or 4 sautéed asparagus stalks on the left and right side of each tart. Then carefully crack open one egg over the middle of each tart. Crack the third egg in a bowl and whisk with a fork. Take a pastry brush and coat the edges of each tart with the egg for better browning in the oven.
  8. Place the tarts in the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes until the eggs are cooked. If after 10 minutes in the oven the edges are getting too dark, reduce the heat and leave in the oven for the remaining time. Remove from the oven and serve with parsley (optional). The tarts can be enjoyed warm or cold.

Author: Danica Utermohlen
Picture credits: Danica Utermohlen

Disclaimer: This recipe has been edited. It was first published in March 2019 for GloTIME and Castelli, and republished in May 2020 (glotime.tv, castelli-uk.com).

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