Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: A Tart of Asparagus and Tarragon

[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

Since my CSA started a few weeks ago I've been inundated with asparagus with at least a bunch or two of green-purple stalks popping up in my crate every Tuesday. I've been steaming them and topping them with hollandaise and charring them with soy, but what I've really been searching for is a recipe that takes asparagus from a side to a complete meal.

This Tart of Asparagus and Tarragon from Nigel Slater's Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch does exactly that, by baking tender blanched stalks into a cheesy, custardy pie.

More delicate than a quiche, this tart begins with a quick pastry crust made from flour, butter, and a single egg yolk. Rolled out, chilled, and blind baked, it's filled with little lengths of blanched asparagus and a thick custard base of heavy cream, eggs, tarragon, and Parmesan. Once baked the tart can be eaten hot but somehow tastes even better when it has a chance to cool. Served with a little pile of dressed greens, this was exactly what I had in mind when day-dreaming about an asparagus main.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Tender to give away this week.

Reprinted with permission from Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater. Copyright © 2009, 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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