Saturday, May 21, 2011

The best ever asparagus tart

My mom has made this tart (I would call it a quiche, but what do I know?) several times, most recently yesterday for lunch with some of her church lady friends and today for lunch with my grandparents. It's delicious and makes a great meal with fruit or a green salad. It comes from a cookbook written by former First Lady of Alabama Patsy Riley. One of my second cousins was the social secretary for the governor, Bob Riley, and one year she gave us the cookbook for Christmas. Her husband was the head of security for the governor, and he is even mentioned in the book on page 47! The cookbook has a more varied selection than you might expect. It has a lot of standard Southern recipes, but she also included a section with a recipe from the first family of every state (the Palins sent a salmon recipe and a black cod recipe, both of which look pretty good) and a section of recipes from a few of the first ladies of the nation. The one for Abigail Adams involves larding a salmon with a skinned eel. I don't think I'll be attempting that. My mom has had fun trying some of the recipes, and this one is definitely a keeper!

Best Ever Asparagus Tart
(from When the Dinner Bells Rings at the Governor's Mansion by Patsy Riley)

1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade
1 lb asparagus spears
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup half and half
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2 cups (about 8 oz) shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup (about 4 oz) grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Place the pie crust in a lightly greased 9-inch pie or tart pan and bake for 12 minutes. Let stand until cool, and leave the oven on.

Snap or cut off the bottom of the asparagus spears. Cut the spears into 3-inch pieces. Steam or blanch the asparagus, drain, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until tender, about 7 minutes.

Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, half and half, flour, and eggs in a mixing bowl and beat until blended. Stir in the onion mixture and Swiss cheese. Arrange the asparagus in the pie shell and pour the cream cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

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