Monday, December 24, 2012

Asparagus Parmesan Tart with Garlic Olive Oil and Balsamic Reduction

So I graduated, am working my first "real" job and am spending my year navigating the pitfalls and advantages that come with being an adult.  And suddenly it's December, and I recently had my first work Christmas potluck.  I wanted to make something that demonstrated (mostly for me) how very grownup and together I am.

see, there's a green vegetable that i am going to promptly coat with that big pile of cheese, some oil and lots of buttery bread.  how very adult of me.

You see, as a postgrad, it's the small things that make you feel either incredibly accomplished or like you should just lock yourself inside and never try to do anything remotely responsible ever again. It's like this comic, which has become a sort of anthem for my friends and I in this stage of life due to its stunning (and terrifying) accuracy. One day you are decorating your entire house for Christmas and making cider for your book club that you actually read the book for, and the next day you are running late and there's a pile of dishes in the sink and you end up eating mac n' cheese straight out of the pan.  And your emotions run a similar roller coaster to your functionality.


And so I knew that if I were able to create something mouthwateringly delicious and semi creative, than I would have a responsible high to cruise on for weeks.  Potlucks are tricky, because the food has to be transportable and you also have to predict what others will bring.  I know we are all stunned that I didn't bring a pie, especially with so many options in my arsenal.  But it's the holiday season, and I knew at least half the spread would be sweets, so savory it was.

I discover this tart from my aforementioned favorite blogger, Joy The Baker.  Here's her version.   The minute I saw it I knew it would perfectly suit my needs for something fancy yet entirely doable and affordable.  Here's my version, which is mostly modified due to cost and availability of ingredients.

parmesan instead of gruyere, crescent roll dough instead of puff pastry

2 cans of crescent roll dough
1 lb of asparagus
1 egg, beaten
about 2 cups of grated Parmesan
A few tablespoons of olive oil
Some garlic
1 bottle of balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll each can of crescent roll dough onto one cookie sheet. Smooth over perforations in dough, creating full sheets of dough.  At this point you can optionally cut the dough into smaller rectangles if you want individualized tarts.  Brush dough with beaten egg. Layer parmesan cheese on top, press asparagus on top in a row. Simmer olive oil with garlic to infuse.  Brush on top of asparagus generously (it will soak into the dough and take it to a whole 'nother level).  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until dough is golden.

Simmer balsamic vinegar in a small pan until reduced to a thick syrup.  Drizzle artistically on top of tart.  Admire, serve and receive compliments while eating.

**We are currently baking a version of this for Christmas Eve dinner, with puff pastry as Joy calls for and thinly sliced apricots snuggled between the asparagus.  Get creative, too!**

This is the recipe for the next time you need a large dose of affirmation in your life perfect dish for a party, holiday or otherwise.  It comes together easy and quick, stands out in a lineup and is also incredibly aesthetically pleasing.  Enjoy!

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