Asparagus makes tart perfect for spring



Tangy goat cheese, sweet leeks and salty bits of bacon rest on top of a buttery-rich pastry.

You can serve it warm, but it's just as tasty at room temperature. The tart can also be made ahead and reheated. So if you're planning a brunch buffet, it's one dish out of the way. It's a great main dish served with some mixed spring greens tossed in a mild vinaigrette. Cut into smaller squares to serve as an appetizer.


Makes: 6; preparation time: 10 minutes; total time: 1 hour

5 slices bacon, diced

2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, washed well, sliced

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 sheet (1/2 pound) puff pastry, thawed

5 ounces soft goat cheese (plain or herb), softened

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg yolk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon water

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan. Add the leeks to the skillet and saute for about 2 minutes or until softened. Add the asparagus and cook over medium-high heat until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cooked bacon.

On a lightly floured piece of kitchen parchment, roll out the pastry to a 10-by-16-inch rectangle. Transfer the pastry and the parchment to a baking sheet.

Evenly spread the softened goat cheese onto the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the asparagus mixture evenly over the goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the edge over and crimp for a decorative edge if desired.

Brush the edge of the tart with the egg wash. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Cut into 6 pieces and serve warm.

Nutritional per serving: 366 calories (60 percent from fat), 25 g fat (7 g sat. fat), 24 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 469 mg sodium, 53 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber.

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