You don’t know what a happy girl I am when spring vegetables start popping up, both literally from the ground and in my markets. Don’t get me wrong, I adore, adore roots and winter greens, but I’m fickle and like a change.
Last Sunday I spotted garlic scapes. They’re a form of green garlic; the delicious by-product of a farmer removing the flowering top from hard-necked garlic to promote growth of the bulb. Scapes look like a fat scallion, and while some gardeners toss them into the compost pile, savvy folks are growing garlic for the pure bliss of having these little darlings. Their flavor is mild and verdant. Use them basically like a spring onion, with a delicate hand.
Today’s food serendipity was poddy fava beans. Admittedly, I was a tiny bit surprised to see them make an appearance quite this soon. Even so, I took a pass on picking some up; waiting for a prime time to dine on their likes after a blistering stint on the grill.
All the grand green abundance has me greedily eating copious amounts of asparagus. Did you know you can forage for the stuff? While I haven’t done it this year – yet – I think it might need to happen next weekend. This elusive beauty in all of its wild Central Oregon glory grows in rocky areas around irrigation ditches and streams.
For the most part, asparagus gets a trickle of olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper and either deposited in a hot oven or on the grill for about 5 to 7 minutes. However, for a recent family gathering I decided to get all fancy, making a tart with asparagus spears and assorted cheese.
Asparagus and Cheese Tart
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 1/2 pound), thawed
- 2 cups grated cheese (I used fontina, asiago and parmesan)
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roll puff pastry into a 10 x 16 inch rectangle on a floured surface. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, score a one inch border on all sides and prick with a fork. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheet.
- Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the puff pastry. Toss the asparagus spears with the olive oil, teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange the asparagus on the tart and bake until the cheese mixture is slightly puffy, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or better yet, room temperature.
And…not an ort was left. Happy eating – Missy