Spring Leek and Asparagus Tart with Goat Cheese

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Makes 1 Tart

 1 tart shell, par-baked

1 bunch of asparagus, woody stems trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

1Tbsp butter

2 thin leeks, washed and trimmed to white parts only, sliced into ½ inch rounds

2 tsp chopped thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

Custard Base:

4 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp chopped garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

3 -4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled into pieces

1 Tbsp chopped chives

Blanch the asparagus. Drain on a dishtowel and reserve ½ cup of the asparagus tips.

Puree the remaining asparagus in a Cuisinart or blender until smooth. If the asparagus is still chunky, add a little of the heavy cream, maybe 2 tablespoon to get an even puree. Transfer the puree to a bowl and set aside.

Heat a small sauté pan on medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the leeks. Sweat the leeks for 2 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the thyme and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. The leeks should be soft but not browned. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl combine the eggs, heavy cream, grated Parmesan, garlic and whisk to combine. Add 1 cup of the asparagus puree and season with salt and pepper to taste. (You may want to add more puree later or save it for soup.)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the par-baked tart shell layer the leeks on the bottom and then sprinkle the asparagus tips, goat cheese and chopped chives over the leeks. Slowly pour the asparagus custard base over the tart making sure to disperse it evenly.  Fill to the top of the crust; you may not use the entire custard base. Place the tart on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the tart in your oven and continue baking for 10 - 15 minutes. The center of the tart will puff when it is baked through.

Remove the tart from the oven and cool on a baking rack. When it has cooled remove the outer ring and transfer to a cutting board. Cut the tart into 8 - 12 slices and transfer to a serving platter of individual plates.