Asparagus and Carrot Tart

Serves 9.

Note: Look for firm, bright asparagus with closed, plump tips. Don’t use the stubby baby carrots that they sell for snacking. Those are not baby carrots at all, just big carrots that have been ground down. Use slender, bunched carrots, or the freshest, brightest carrots you can find. From Robin Asbell.

• 1 piece puff pastry (frozen and thawed overnight in the refrigerator or for an hour on the countertop)

• 3 small young carrots (see Note)

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 12 oz. chèvre (goat cheese), room temperature

• 2 tsp. fresh lemon zest

• 3 tbsp. chopped parsley, divided

• 1 bunch (1 lb.) asparagus

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper, and reserve.

Lightly flour a countertop and place the puff pastry on top. Roll out the pastry to a 9- by 14-inch rectangle. Transfer to the prepared pan. Use a sharp knife to score the dough 1 inch from the edge, to make a 1-inch-wide crust. Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Peel and slice the carrots into thin strips.

Place the olive oil in a very small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the carrot pieces and sauté, reducing the heat to medium, for 5 minutes. Transfer the carrots and oil to a large bowl. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, mash the chèvre and add the lemon zest and 2 tablespoons parsley. Mash to mix.

Trim 3 inches of the bases from the asparagus, and add to the bowl with the carrots; toss to coat with oil.

Crumble the chèvre mixture over the inner rectangle of the baked puff pastry, covering it evenly. Arrange the asparagus and carrots over the cheese, and return to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

When the asparagus is tender and the pastry is crisp, transfer the pan to a cooling rack and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting. Cut into 3- by 3-inch squares, to make 9 slices. Serve.

Vegan variation (to replace chèvre): Soak 1 1/2 cups raw cashews overnight in water. Drain the cashews and purée with 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in lemon zest and 2 tablespoons parsley. Bake the puff pastry, unfilled, for 30 minutes. Roast the carrots and asparagus, drizzled with oil, for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. To assemble, spread the cashew purée on the hot pastry, and top with the roasted asparagus and carrots. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and serve.

Nutrition information per serving made with goat cheese:

Calories 300 Fat 23 g Sodium 260 mg

Carbohydrates 15 g Saturated fat 9 g Total sugars 1 g

Protein 10 g Cholesterol 20 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 1 high-fat protein, 3 fat.