The Queen’s Asparagus Tartlets

A few weeks ago, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee.  There were luncheons, parties, and parades. Needless to say, I was not invited.

By the by…here’s the closest I’ve ever come to being a queen.

For some reason, we thought crowns were red.  Even my sister, Darla, seems to know that's wrong!

For some reason, we thought crowns were red. Even my sister, Darla, seems to know that’s wrong!

Well, while the actual Queen was celebrating 60 years on the throne, I was planning a tea party, and I took a little inspiration from her majesty’s luncheon menu when preparing my spread.

The Queen served an Asparagus tart at her luncheon, but since I was throwing a tea party and tea party food must be mini, I went for Asparagus tartlets.

I found some great recipes online, but none of them really seemed royal enough.  So, I kicked it up a few notches.

Puff pastry, cheese, and asparagus.  What could be prettier?

Puff pastry, cheese, and asparagus. What could be prettier?

The Queen’s Asparagus Tartlets

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed but still quite cold
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup gruyere, shredded
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar, reduced

Heat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unfold pastry onto floured surface. Cut along creases. Cut again to make rectangles. (6 or 9 rectangles, depending on the size of your crowd…and the size of your appetite!)
With paring knife, score a border around the edge of each pastry. Place on baking sheet.
Make a vinaigrette from the mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, thyme and salt and pepper. Brush a teaspoon of vinaigrette onto each pastry square. Top with cheese. Toss asparagus with remaining vinaigrette, cut to fit, and place and 3-4 pieces on each pastry square.
Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before eating. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

If you make the larger tartlets, you can then cut them along the longer dimension to create even smaller rectangles. But, if you make them smaller to begin with, everyone gets their own.  Fantastic!

By the by…the year after my unfortunate grey wig/red crown costume, I downgraded from “Queen” to “Princess” for Halloween. Clearly, that’s where I found my calling…

Really, it was just an excuse to put my hair up and wear my flower girl dress from my aunt's wedding.  Still, a big improvement...

Really, it was just an excuse to put my hair up and wear my flower girl dress from my aunt’s wedding. Still, a big improvement…

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