If we can cook it, you can cook it!


Spread the love

Usher in Spring with this terrific Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Tarragon Tart.

This is a fantastic tart. And it’s right of the moment because it works best with Spring’s earliest and thin-stalk Asparagus. We used both Green and Red Asparagus in ours.  And then there’s the ease of making it.  Its store-bought Puff Pastry cuts down the time it takes to make to under an hour: 25 minutes in the oven and a 15-minute cooldown. It’s perfect for a light lunch with a glass of Rosé. And it’s an ideal starter or side dish.  We loved serving it as a grand hors d’oeuvre to two friends who came by for cocktails.  No small bites here!  we all enjoyed every wonderful bite of our generous individual squares. No surprise, it’s from Melissa Clark whose recipes are standbys in our house.


Melissa Clark hits another one out of the Ball Park with her Asparagus Tart.

Order Melissa’s Dinner in French by clicking on this picture.

Melissa Clark writes for the New York Times. Brooklyn-born and raised, Melissa graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s Degree in Writing. An abiding interest in food led her to write all about it.  To support her early food-writing career, she catered out of her 5th-floor walk-up.  She landed at The New York Times where she writes “A Good Appetite” and “Cook This Now”.  This recipe is certainly appropriate for cooking now .It’s actually from Melissa’s wonderful cookbook “Dinner in French: My recipes by way of France” (Clarkson Potter 2020). Today’s Asparagus Tart is its cover shot.  Our copy of the book gets a lot of use. It’s described thus: “Melissa Clark breaks down the new French classics with 150 recipes that reflect a modern, yet distinctly French sensibility”.

How to make this Tart at its buttery best.

Melissa made a plea to use All-Butter brand Puff pastry.  Most commercial puff pastry is made with cooking oil.  We used the familiar Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.  It did not seem to affect the result.  Although you can’t help wondering how much better the All-Butter may have been. The results here are hardly making do: This tart is not just visually stunning, it’s a real treat.  The crisp puff pastry layered with Crème Fraiche, Goat Cheese, Tarragon, and then topped with Asparagus and Parmesan is a perfect combination. If you are not a Goat Cheese fan, you might want to try this with Boursin.  And if you don’t love Tarragon, Melissa Clark would recommend Chives, Basil, or Mint. By the way, we used Honey Goat Cheese. We love the way honey mellows the goat cheese.   Served within an hour of coming out of the oven, it’s at its buttery best.  Here is the recipe and after it, some other Melissa Clark favorites:

Melissa Clark's Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Tarragon Tart

April 5, 2024
: 4 to 6
: 10 min
: 60 min
: Easy

Store-bought Puff Pastry topped with Goat Cheese, Creme Fraiche and Tarragon is a perfect bed for the first Asparagus of the season.


  • 1 cup goat cheese, at room temperature (4 ounces)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated or minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus more for serving
  • ½ tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup crème fraîche, at room temperature (8 ounces)
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting the work surface
  • 1 sheet or square all-butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen (about 9 to 14 ounces
  • brands vary)
  • 8 ounces thin asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red-pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 ½ ounces Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler (about 1/2 cup)
  • Step 1 Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, use a fork or a wooden spoon to mash together the goat cheese, egg, garlic, tarragon, lemon zest, salt, and nutmeg until smooth. Switch to a whisk and beat in the crème fraîche until smooth.
  • Step 2 On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry into a 13-by-11-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined cookie sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score a 1/2-inch border around the edges of the puff pastry.
  • Step 3 Spread the crème fraîche mixture evenly inside the scored border. Line up the asparagus spears on a baking sheet, and brush them with olive oil. Then line them up atop the Goat Cheese Mixture. Sprinkle some salt and the grated Parmesan over the asparagus.
  • Step 4 Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool on the cookie sheet for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours before serving. Then sprinkle black pepper, red pepper flakes (if using), the shaved Parmesan and tarragon leaves. Drizzle a little oil on top.
  • Step 5 You can assemble the tart 1 day in advance, but reserve the sprinkling of salt and grated Parmesan until right before baking. Loosely cover the tart and store it in the refrigerator until it’s time to bake.

Rhubarb Pound Cake from Melissa Clark in The New York Times

Melissa Clark’s Roasted Heirloom Carrot Salad with Miso Dressing

Cooking School: Melissa Clark and Alex Guarnaschelli’s Pork Chops with Shiitake Mushrooms


  • If you arrange the asparagus so that every other one is pointing in the opposite direction, more people will enjoy a slice with an asparagus tip on it.

    • My giant error on this one exposed! For some reason, I didn’t look at Melissa’s picture very closely. It was only when I went to cut it into four that I discovered my mistake. Thanks for pointing this our Carollyn. I do hope you and Jack are staying strong and healthy. XOXO Monte

    • So glad to hear that Linda. This one is fabulous! Enjoy every bite. And wait till you see what we’re posting today…XOXO Monte

    • Dear Marie, Thank you so much for taking the time to write. This recipe really is a keeper! All best, Monte

  • I made this last night and it was amazing! I wonder if I didn’t spread my dough out enough because the cheese oozed off some of the sides and got burnt. But I cut those bits off and this was a huge hit for me. Thanks for this!

    • Dear Jennifer, We’re always so pleased when readers like you take the time to write. I am so glad it was a success despite the oozing cheese. It really doesn’t matter when you end up with something you really enjoy. All best, Monte

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.