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cookbook preview: spring tarts with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese

Spring is here, and so is the Husbands That Cook cookbook! That feels so good say, as we have been waiting oh-so-long to tell you! For those of you just tuning in: our book will be released March 12, 2019 on St. Martin’s Press, and you can pre-order your copy today! The process was an intense eighteen months in the making, but your overwhelming response these past few days has made it all worth it. To celebrate, today we are sharing our first preview from the book, a little sneak peek of one of our favorite recipes in the Entertaining Chapter. It was difficult to choose which one to share first, but this is the height of asparagus season, and the perfect time to post a dish featuring this healthy and delicious spring vegetable. Please put your hands together and give a warm welcome to the first recipe from our new vegetarian cookbook, Spring Tarts with Asparagus, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese.

These tasty tarts are ready to entertain. Your party guests will be cheering when you strut out of the kitchen with a platter of these colorful treats in your hands. In this applause-worthy hors d’oeuvre, tender asparagus spears are lightly sautéed with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, and rest on a bed of smooth, creamy goat cheese. Sprinkled with lemon zest, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and nestled in a flaky, buttery crust baked with fresh thyme, these irresistible mini-tarts are sure to receive a standing ovation.

These light snacks are easy and fun to prepare. If you have a little time—and thyme—we recommend making the simple homemade crust; it is definitely worth the few extra steps, and will surpass the texture and flavor of anything you can find in stores. That being said, purchasing a pre-made pie crust is totally acceptable, and will work just fine in this recipe. If you go that route, the rest is simple: you fill the mini crusts with warm goat cheese, then top it with the sautéed vegetables and fresh lemon zest, and that’s it. To see these tarts in action, join us on our weekly Instagram show this Saturday at 12pm PST, as we make these crispy appetizers live from our kitchen. We would love to see your creations too, so when you make this recipe—if you don’t devour them all first—take a photo and tag #husbandsthatcookbook so we can see how they turned out! We’ll be previewing more recipes from our cookbook between now and March 12, so stay tuned, and today let’s start with tarts!

Spring Tarts with Asparagus, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese
From Husbands That Cook: More Than 120 Irresistible Vegetarian Recipes and Tales from Our Tiny Kitchen, St. Martin’s Press 2019
Makes 10 to 12 4-inch tarts

For the crust:
1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons (165 g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
¼ cup (58 g) greek yogurt or sour cream
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup (59 ml) ice water

For the sautéed vegetables:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ cups (150 g) asparagus cut into 1-inch lengths
2 large garlic cloves (10 g), minced
¾ cup (100 g) coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For assembly and garnish:
8 ounces (227 g) goat cheese, warmed slightly in the microwave to a spreadable texture
a few pinches of flaky sea salt
a few grinds of black pepper
a few pinches of red pepper flakes
lemon zest, for garnish

To make the crust:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and thyme leaves. Add the cold butter cubes, and use a pastry cutter to blend in the butter until the largest pieces are the size of peas. In a measuring cup, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, and ice water, then pour over the flour mixture. Stir until the dough comes together, using your hands to gather any loose scraps into one ball of dough. Form into a rough disc shape, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 400°F/204°C. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface until it is about ⅛-inch thick. Place a mini tart pan facedown on the dough, and cut a circle of dough about ¼-inch around the pan. Repeat and make additional circles of dough until it is all used up, gathering the scraps and rerolling as needed. Press the circles of dough into the bottom and sides of the mini tart pans, trimming off any excess. Fill as many tart pans as you have available; they can be reused after baking to make additional rounds of crusts as needed.

Arrange the tarts on a baking sheet, place a small square of foil over each one, and fill each tart with pie weights, dried beans, dry rice, or metal coins to keep the crusts from puffing up. Bake until golden and crisp, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove the weights and the foil, and let the tarts cool on a wire rack. Remove the crusts from the tart pans and repeat the process with any remaining unbaked dough.

To make the sautéed vegetables:
Set a large skillet over medium heat, and when hot, add the oil. Sauté the asparagus until crisp-tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and cook for 60 seconds, then remove from heat.

To assemble the tarts:
Spread a generous layer of warmed goat cheese in each crust, then top with spoonfuls of sautéed vegetables to fill the tart (a 4-inch tart will use about 2 to 3 tablespoons). Garnish with pinches of flaky sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest. Serve warm, and enjoy!

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