Four-ingredients puff pastry egg tarts for an elegant breakfast, lunch, or light dinner!
Austrians (and Germans) are huge fans of asparagus, or Spargel. They actually prefer the white kind that is so hard to find in the U.S. Over the past month, I’ve been watching asparagus prices drop at the grocery store as Spargelzeit gets into full swing. What is Spargelzeit? Well, it’s the time (Zeit) of year when Spargel is in season. It means that every restaurant’s specials menu includes cream of asparagus soup, asparagus risotto, some kind of protein with roasted asparagus and hollandaise sauce…when you’re in Austria and Germany at this time of year, you’ve got to eat Spargel.
My mom was in Austria for the end of my Easter break (before she set off on her own adventures elsewhere in Europe), and she was quite excited to be around for the beginning of Spargelzeit. The beginning of asparagus season seems to coincide with the end of Bärlauch (wild ramp) season, and my mom was able to kill two birds with one stone by having them both at one meal. People may think that Austrian cuisine is all sausages and schnitzel but there are actually (occasionally) vegetables that take center stage!
While my mom was here, we unfortunately had some rather gray weather. It didn’t ever really rain, but the gorgeous sunny weather that was around for the beginning of the month disappeared. And since then, the weather can’t seem to make up its mind. It goes from sunny to dark and cloudy in just a few minutes, and I’m never sure how many layers I’ll need or weather to bring sunglasses or an umbrella when I leave the apartment. It’s kind of frustrating.
But back to asparagus. It took me a long time to start liking asparagus; it’s one of the few things I remember refusing to eat when I was little (other things: fish that wasn’t a fish stick, raw mushrooms, and scallions). Then I started eating just the asparagus tips…and sometime I decided it was an okay vegetable. Since deciding that, I’ve actually come to like it and go “out of my way” (so to speak) to eat it.
Today, Reader, we’ve got something that could work for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, featuring asparagus and eggs. I like eggs. A lot. But this was actually the first time I tried baking eggs. It’s totally the way to go if you’re trying to make eggs for a crowd–no standing over the stove!
Asparagus, Egg, and Goat Cheese Tarts
Makes: 4 tarts
- About 6 spears of roasted asparagus (see below for roasting method)
- 1 package store-bought puff pastry, thawed as per manufacturer’s instructions*
- 4 eggs*
- Goat cheese
- Salt and pepper
*I could make four rectangular tarts with my Austrian puff pastry with a little left over. I don’t know the size of puff-pastry sold in American stores, so you might be able to make more tarts from one package.
This is a great way to use up some leftover roasted asparagus, but if you don’t have any, it’s easy to do to!
To roast your asparagus: Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash spears and break off tough white ends. Toss asparagus spears with a drizzle of olive oil, a little lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and place in the oven. One pound of asparagus will take about 15 minutes to cook, smaller batches will take slightly less time.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Cut your puff pastry into squares or rectangles, mine were 4 1/2×6″, and fold the edges up so you have a bit of a crust. Poke the bottom (not the crust section) liberally with a fork. This allows steam to escape so the bottom doesn’t puff up. Place on a baking sheet and bake until just starting to turn golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. If the bottom starts to puff up, carefully poke the bubbles with a fork to release the steam. While the puff pastry is baking, slice your asparagus spears lengthwise.
After 8-10 minutes, remove the pastry shells from the oven. Spread the bottom with a few slices of goat cheese, arrange 2-3 asparagus halves around the edges, and crack an egg into the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes, until egg whites are set.