I always a struggle finding something impressive to serve dinner guests on a weekday night. I usually spend the evening panicking in the kitchen with some over-complicated nonsense. Chatty guests and glasses of wine don't help the situation.
But this tart is so easy to put together ahead of time, and tastes fantastic. Who doesn't love pastry? And after you've made it (either the night before, or earlier in the evening), it just pops in the oven. If you have a polite guest who asks if they can help with anything, get them to make the salad. Which leaves you with nothing to do but enjoy your glass of wine!
1 bunch of thin asparagus, trimmed
1 tsp olive oil
1 small red onion
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 package of puff pastry (or fresh pastry if you have time and don't commute 2 hours to work like I do!)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
coarsely cracked pepper
1 tbsp milk
Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Steam the asparagus for around 3 minutes, until tender and crisp. Chill in cold water and pat dry.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a small frying pan, chop the onion and saute with the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Unroll the pastry sheet onto prepared pan. Spread evenly with mustard, leaving 1 inch border. Arrange asparagus, side by side and alternating ends, on mustard.
Sprinkle with cheese and pepper. In small bowl, beat the egg with milk; lightly brush over pastry border. Bake at 230 degrees until puffed and golden, and cheese is bubbly, about 18 minutes. Cut into squares, and serve with a crisp side salad.