Sunday, May 6, 2012

Asparagus and Crab Tart with Fresh Tarragon

Having tried and enjoyed a chicken tart not too long ago, I thought I'd give this one a spin. A tart with crab in it has to be -- anything with crab in it is usually no-fail. We'll see how the old crab meat works out. And instead of using 8 oz of crab, I used 12.

I changed the order of operations by beginning with baking the crust rather than preparing the asparagus to shave off a few minutes. And that crust was supposed to line a 10-inch removable bottom tart pan but I crossed my fingers and hoped my 9-inch pie plate would work just as well. You'll have to trust that otherwise the recipe was executed as intended -- the source isn't available on-line, likely a glitch.

Asparagus and Crab Tart with Fresh Tarragon
adapted from Cooking Club of America, April/May 2004 issue
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 c asparagus, sliced (1/2 inch)
1/4 c green onions, finely chopped
3 eggs
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, minced
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
12 oz fresh, frozen or canned lump crab meat (thawed if frozen)
1/2 c (2 oz.) Gruyere cheese, grated, divided

Heat oven to 350°F. Roll dough to 12-inch round.

Line 9-inch pie pan with dough. Fold overhang under to make slightly raised edge.

Line dough with foil; fill halfway with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 15 minutes or until edges are light brown and pull away slightly from sides.

Remove foil and weights; bake an additional 5 minutes or until dry and set.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and green onions; cook 5 minutes or until asparagus is tender, stirring frequently.

In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, tomato paste, tarragon, salt and cayenne pepper until blended.

Stir in asparagus, green onions, crab and 1/4 cup of the cheese.

Spoon filling into tart shell. (Tart will be very full.) Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Place tart with baking sheet in oven. Bake 35 to 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Checked after 43 minutes.

Checked after 6 more minutes of baking.

Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Even with my changes, 9-inch pie plate vs 10-inch tart pan and 12 oz crab vs 8 oz, the tart turned out well. The baking time had to be extended by 5 minutes to completely cook the middle but that isn't what I'd consider a big difference. The cheesy top was still nicely browned without any blackening. You might throw on a sheet of foil if that's worrisome.

While technically everything worked out ok using old crab was a big mistake. The funky flavor was in every single bite. I can't say that simply cutting the old 6 ounces out of the mix would've been the way to go either because the tart would've been really crab-skimpy. I shock myself sometimes by what I'll consume.

Additionally, the tart would've worked better for me if the texture was a little more firm. It reminded me too much of firm yogurt or semi-soft tofu for me to go crazy over it. None went to waste (amazingly) as it was edible. It just didn't happen over a couple of servings with seconds and thirds.

I do wonder how the tart would turn out if baked in a 10-inch tart pan -- would the shallower depth do something with the texture? Would  8 ounces of crab be a suitable quantity? Can I find an 8-ounce container of lump crab meat?

  • dough: $1.29
  • butter : $0.07
  • asparagus: $2.19
  • green onions: $0.25
  • eggs: $0.95 
  • whipping cream: $2.88
  • tomato paste: $0.39
  • tarragon: $0.65
  • lump crab meat: $9.25
  • Gruyere cheese: $2.50
Total: $20.42 or $2.55 for each of eight servings.