The early season asparagus is starting to appear – one of my favourite veg, so as always I’m planning to make the most of its short but scrumptious season.
What an amazing nutrient-packed spear it is too! As always, the fresher and more local, the better, so make the most of seasonal offerings, for your health as well as supporting local communities’ producers.
Fantastic for so many processes with a broad nutrient profile, and of course, high in vitamin K and the all-important folate. It’s also one of the best plant-based sources of tryptophan, the protein-sourced precursor to serotonin, the happy hormone – if you’re veggie, and sometimes feel your amino acid intake could be compromised because you avoid meat, then tuck in during the seasonal bounty!
With its combo of tryptophan and high levels of folate, it’s especially powerful at boosting brain function – research shows that a high percentage of people with depression suffer from low folate levels.
So lovely on its own, lightly steamed, or drizzled with a little melted butter, or hollandaise, it takes on an even more savoury note when paired with ham, bacon or meats like prosciutto. Chopped into a salad, stir fry or in tarts like today’s recipe, cooked al dente, its crisp crunch and fresh flavour remind us that spring has sprung!
Asparagus Pesto Cheese Tart
50g pesto (store-bought or try the Omega Pesto recipe further down the page to use the last of the seasonal kale)
16 to 20 asparagus spears
150g cherry tomatoes, halved
150g feta, crumbled
150g shredded mozzarella (optional)
1 pack of puff pastry
Preheat oven to 190. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, slightly roll out the pastry to an even rectangle, and cut into four equal rectangles. To make things easier, separate rectangles and place on baking sheet so you can prepare on baking sheet – score slightly about i/2 inch in to make a border, then prick inside the border with a fork to prevent too much rise.
Spread the pesto on the rectangles, inside the 1/2-inch border. Top each with 4 to 5 asparagus spears, tomatoes, and both cheeses. You can wrap the asparagus spears in ham or prosciutto for a savoury kick, or scatter cooked bacon shards amongst the veg.
Bake pastries for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden, bubbling beautifully and smelling mouth-wateringly divine. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm, alone or with salad or sides, as a lunch or main meal.
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