This recipe just isn’t fair. I’m sorry. With its main components being butter, Mascarpone, asparagus, walnuts, and a dusting of Parmesan – there is little to no chance this won’t be an unforgettable dish.
I blame Delancey for planting the seed that sprouted this tart. On one of our regular visits I ordered a dish consisting of asparagus that was perfectly charred in their wood-burning oven, walnut cream, and slender shavings of Parmesan. It was a rare moment that I was cursing the fact that my children eat their vegetables as their little hands greedily swiped the slender green spears from my plate. I encouraged them to focus on their pizza and leave the asparagus for me as I painstakingly crafted the perfect bite with each component of the plate gracefully represented.
It was then that I learned that walnuts, asparagus, and Parmesan seemed to have been made for one another. My addition of flaky puff pastry, and garlic and chili flake spiked Mascarpone simply forms a solid foundation for those three to steal the show.
If you aren’t familiar with Mascarpone I hope this recipe entices you enough to familiarize yourself with this triple cream cheese. Similar to cream cheese in texture but without the harsh twang. It spreads like a dream and tastes the way I imagine heaven will feel. It’s indulgent and immediately makes any dish sound and taste suitable for fine dining.
For those of you who rush off to the store to buy Mascarpone to make this recipe – good for you. Then when you start cursing me when you see the cost of an 8 oz container, I apologize. Sit tight and I will soon share with you a recipe and method for making this soft cheese at home.
In place of the Mascarpone you may use Creme Fraiche.
continue for recipe…
With the addition of a simply dressed salad this tart makes for a perfect Summer lunch.
1 bunch asparagus (about 1 lb)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup Mascarpone
¼ cup heavy cream
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
pinch pepper flakes
salt and pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 420*. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Roll the puff to a rough 8×12 inch rectangle. Trim off the uneven edges. Carefully place the puff onto the baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a small bowl combine the Mascarpone, cream, garlic, pepper flakes, and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper.
Remove the woody part of the asparagus by taking one spear and carefully bending until it snaps. Using that spear as your guide cut the remaining asparagus where your guide snapped. In a medium bowl toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Remove your puff from the fridge and top with the Mascarpone mixture leaving a 1” border around the entire tart. On top of the Mascarpone lay the asparagus, single file, one right next to the other. Sprinkle the top with a fine sea salt and put in the oven. After the first 20 minutes of baking reduce the heat to 350* and continue to bake for another 20-30 minutes, until cooked through.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Just before serving top with toasted walnuts and shaved Parmesan. Serve warm or at room temperature.