Parmigiano Reggiano and asparagus tart recipe
Make the most of the annoyingly short British asparagus season with this deliciously easy tart
Asparagus is one of the best – if not the best – vegetables out there. But in the UK, we only have eight weeks a year to enjoy the British asparagus season.
From May until the 21 June (all asparagus growers in the UK stop cutting spears on this date, aka Midsummer’s Day), we have to get as much as we can. Growing it is a labour of love, as each spear is harvested by hand.
It makes perfect sense to pair it with another hero ingredient which is a labour of love: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Exclusively made in a small area of northern Italy, every wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano is of the highest quality, undergoing a thorough quality check at 12 months, only after which it can be branded with the official Parmigiano Reggiano mark.
As often as possible over this short asparagus season, I’ll be found grilling spears, before liberally covering them in olive oil and chunky shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano.
However, sometimes you want to take things a little bit further. This asparagus and Parmgiano Reggiano tart is still easy and quick to make, but gives both main ingredients a real chance to shine.
- 2 10x20cm puff pastry rectangles
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp green pesto
- 30g shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus extra to serve
- 4 tbsp mascarpone cheese
- 6 asparagus spears
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Torn basil leaves, to serve
- Salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Place the pastry rectangles on a greased baking sheet and carefully score lines 1cm away from the pastry edges with a sharp knife. Prick the inner rectangle with a fork and brush with beaten egg.
- Spread a thin layer of pesto all over the base of the inner rectangle and top with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and small spoonfuls of mascarpone cheese.
- Blanche the asparagus spears for 1 minute in boiling salted water, drain, and place 3 spears across each tart.
- Sprinkle a little lemon zest and grated Parmigiano Reggiano over each tart and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and risen.
- Serve the tarts with shaved Parmgiano Reggiano and freshly torn basil leaves.