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  • Recipe Room  »  Asparagus tray bake



    • 450g finger-thin asparagus spears
    • 250g puff pastry
    • 150ml crème fraîche
    • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons freshly grated vegetarian Parmesan
    • 2 medium organic egg yolks
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Asparagus tray bake

    Locally grown asparagus is one of the great treats of spring. It’s only in season for a couple of months, but when it comes, it comes thick and fast. Great on its own with melted butter, it adds a real touch of class to this simple but yummy tart.


    Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Trim the asparagus spears where they begin to become woody. Add to the pan, bring back to the boil and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Remove and dry on a tea towel.

    Roll the pastry a few millimetres thick into a rectangle 40 x 20cm and trim to neaten the edges — make sure you have a baking tray large enough, otherwise adjust the dimensions accordingly. Lay the pastry on the baking tray. Blend the crème fraîche, mustard, Parmesan, 1 beaten egg yolk and seasoning together in a bowl. Spoon this cream over the pastry so there is a pastry surround of 2cm. Lay on top the asparagus in rows of single spears. Beat the remaining egg yolk and paint the pastry borders. Bake the tart for 30 minutes.

    Serve 5 minutes out of the oven, though it is excellent cold.

    Extract from The Meat Free Monday Cookbook by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney, edited by Annie Rigg, published by Kyle Books, RRP $35 click to buy.

    Tips and Tricks

    • You know asparagus is going bad when the tips begin to turn dark green – It is still safe to eat at this point if you cut off the tips and cook immediately.

    • Hard cheeses store excellently in the freezer. Grate fully and keep in a sealed plastic bag – cheese can be used in cooking straight from frozen.

    • To use up leftover puff pastry, cut into small strips and brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with cheese or cinnamon and sugar for a quick treat!

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