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Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Tarragon Tart

Image by Laura Edwards

From Dinner in French by Melissa Clark.

 INGREDIENTS

    • 4 ounces (1 cup) fresh goat cheese, room temperature
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, room temperature
    • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated or minced
    • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus more for serving
    • ½ tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
    • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
    • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1 cup (8 ounces) crème fraîche, room temperature
    • All-purpose flour, for dusting the work surface
    • 1 sheet or square all-butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen (about 9 to 14 ounces; brands vary)
    • 8 ounces thin asparagus, woody ends trimmed
    • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
    • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
    • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
    • 1½ ounces parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler (about ½ cup)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, use a wooden spoon or a fork to mash together the goat cheese, egg, garlic, tarragon, lemon zest, salt, and nutmeg until smooth. Switch to a whisk and beat in the crème fraîche until smooth.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to form a 13 × 11-inch rectangle about ⅛ inch thick. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score a ½-inch border around the edges of the puff pastry.
  4. Spread the crème fraîche mixture evenly inside the scored border. Line up the asparagus spears on top, and brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and the grated parmesan over the asparagus.
  5. Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool on the cookie sheet for at least 15 minutes before serving (or for up to 4 hours). Then sprinkle black pepper, red pepper flakes (if using), the shaved parmesan, tarragon leaves, and a drizzle of oil on top.
  6. Thinking Ahead Tart: You can assemble the tart 1 day in advance; but reserve the sprinkling of salt and grated parmesan until right before baking. Loosely cover the tart and store it in the refrigerator.