Sure, you can boil or steam asparagus, but one of the most beautiful ways to showcase long stalks of spring asparagus is to use them in an open-faced slab pie or a rectangular tart. The asparagus roasts gently into vibrant green, perfectly tender spears as the tart bakes in the oven.
Using buttered sheets of phyllo for the base of the tart simplifies the process because you don’t have to make a dough or roll it out. This show-stopping spring tart can be cut into squares for brunch, lunch, or even as a side at dinner.
20 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
55 minTotal Time
- 12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed in the fridge overnight if frozen (approximately 300 grams)
- 6 tbsp (90 mL) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (250 mL) ricotta cheese
- ½ cup (125 mL) crumbled feta cheese, divided
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup (60 mL) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt & pepper
- 680 grams (1 ½ lbs) asparagus
- Olive oil, for drizzling before baking
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF(205ºC) with the baking rack in the middle. Line a large rimmed half-sheet pan that is approximately 13”x18” (preferably light coloured aluminum or stainless steel) with parchment paper.
- Begin by building the phyllo base of the tart. Lay a sheet of phyllo over the parchment, then brush lightly with melted butter from edge to edge over the entire surface. Top with the next sheet of phyllo, brushing it with butter. Repeat the process over and over again until you have stacked and buttered the 12 sheets of phyllo. This is your tart base.
- In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, ¼ cup of crumbled feta, lemon zest, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, then spread the cheese filling thinly and evenly over the phyllo tart base, leaving a 1 inch border.
- Prepare the asparagus by washing and drying it. Snap off and discard the woody ends. Arrange the asparagus over the cheese layer, pressing it in gently. Sprinkle with remaining crumbled feta, then drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake the tart on the middle rack until the edges are a deep golden brown and crisp, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into squares and serve immediately.
• If you are using a baking sheet with a dark or black finish, you may need to lower the oven temperature by 25ºF down to 375ºF. • When working with phyllo dough, thaw according to the package instructions. Also, be sure to keep the phyllo dough covered to keep it from drying out. I like to cover it with a kitchen towel, then very lightly spritz the towel with a fine mist of water.