Asparagus Summer Tart

By Mary McCartney From the book Food
Asparagus Summer Tart

The slow-cooked, sweet red onions add an extra dimension to this asparagus tart. Making it for friends is great because you can prepare it before your guests arrive and then pop it in the oven 15 minutes before you are ready to eat. I like to serve this with a simple green leaf salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing.

For how many? Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250g shopbought shortcrust pastry
  • 2 tbsp vegetable cooking oil
  • 4 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • large bunch fresh asparagus (approx. 450g)
  • 150g good melting cheese, such as Gruyère, taleggio, applewood smoked Cheddar or goat’s Cheddar, cubed or grated
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat your oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.

2. Roll out your pastry to about 3mm thick and lay it in a baking tray (approx. 32 x 20cm) to fit the edges. To blind bake your pastry case, lay parchment or greaseproof paper onto your rolled pastry, and then tip your baking beans or rice on top to gently weigh it down. Bake it for 10 minutes, then remove the paper and beans and bake again for about 5 minutes, until the pastry is lightly golden but not fully cooked.

3. For the fi lling: heat the oil in a medium heavybottomed frying pan, and then gently fry the onions on a medium/low heat until they are soft and caramelised (about 15 minutes).

4. To prepare the asparagus, clean all the spears under cold water and then snap or cut off just the woody ends (you can discard these). Boil in just enough water to cover them, for 2–3 minutes, depending on thickness. They should be slightly undercooked, as they will fi nish cooking in the oven.

5. Spread the caramelised onions evenly over the base of your pre-baked pastry case and then arrange the asparagus over the onions. Sprinkle the cheese on top and season with freshly ground black pepper.

6. Bake the tart in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the cheese is bubbling hot and turning golden brown. Cut into portions, and serve.

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