WHAT IS AN ASPARAGUS, HAM & EPOISSE TART?
It is a pie crust filled with sweet or savory deliciousness! This asparagus tart is excellent for supper along with a lightly dressed green salad and crisp white wine. Made in small ramekins it can be an excellent appetizer or starter course. Epoisses cheese is the star of this tart. It’s a creamy, custardy cheese with a strong flavor and scent.
SUGGESTIONS WHEN MAKING AN ASPARAGUS, HAM & EPOISSE TART
- A Good Crust Is the Best Foundation
Whether your tart is sweet or savory, success or failure will rest on the crust. The gooier your filling, the more important it is to have a crispy crust that can stand up to the dense ingredients and provide a crunchy counterpart. Although there are plenty of store bought pie crusts on the market we strongly suggest taking the effort to make your own pie crust which is also called short-crust pastry or, in the French pâte brisée. To ensure the crust doesn’t get soggy we suggest “blind-baking” it–that is baking it a bit before adding your filling. You can find our recipe for short pie crust here.
- Will just any ham do?
We’re partial to French Bayonne ham for this recipe. Bayonne ham is sort of like prosciutto but a little less salty with a sweeter, buttery flavor. It’s a great counterpart to the strong flavor of epoisses cheese. Bayonne ham can be a little chewy so it’s important to mince it finely for this recipe. If you can’t find Bayonne ham, any ham or bacon of your choice will do. You can even use a good quality uncured turkey bacon if you like.
- Green or White Asparagus?
Green asparagus makes a nice presentation for this dish but for an all-white presentation you can use white asparagus as well. Be forewarned: white asparagus does have a more delicate flavor and can get a bit lost in the combination of epoisses and ham or bacon.
WHAT PAIRS WELL WITH AN ASPARAGUS, HAM & EPOISSE TART?
While there is a lot of creamy goodness going on here, don’t overdo your meal with more fatty dishes. Look to some roughage or vegetables to give your pallet a respite from the pie shell of French heaven coming your way. But don’t despair, healthy doesn’t mean boring. Try our green lentil tabbouleh or some black bean salad for a change of pace. (written by Chef Stef)