A puff-pastry tart is a beautiful thing – so easy and eminently versatile. In my spring version, I’ve taken two Vineyard vegetables that come in season together (asparagus and spring onions), added a bit of salami for umami, and paired them with a layer of herbed ricotta and Parmigiano.

I like to give the asparagus, spring onions (or scallions as a substitute), and salami a quick toss in the stir-fry pan first, which releases moisture and begins the flavor process. Another flavor trick I like is to chop my Parmigiano in a small food processor rather than grating it by hand, which produces coarse, pebbly pieces.

Asparagus on the thinner size work better for this tart, but no matter what size you use, cut them on a sharp bias into 2-inch pieces for a pretty look. Remember to thaw your frozen puff pastry in the fridge the night before you want to bake.

Makes one tart or 12 pieces

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 8½ ounces), thawed overnight in the refrigerator
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces trimmed asparagus (about 12 to 14 ounces before trimming), sliced thinly on the bias into 2-inch pieces 
  • 1½ ounces thinly sliced salami, stacked and sliced crosswise
  • 1 small spring onion (about a 2-inch wide bulb), white and light green parts sliced crosswise into ¼-inch slices, or 4 to 5 large scallions very thickly sliced (white parts only)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 cup ricotta (not skim)
  • ½ cup plus 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely grated Parmigiano (preferably chopped in a small food processor; you will need about 3 ounces to start with)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons finely chopped tarragon or mint, more whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon (packed) freshly grated lemon zest
  • Fresh pepper
  • All-purpose flour for dusting

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a large, heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature while you prepare the toppings.

2. In a large nonstick stir-fry pan (preferably) or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the asparagus, salami, spring onions or scallions, and ½ teaspoon salt. Turn the heat to medium high.

3. Cook, stirring just occasionally for a minute or so, then frequently, until the asparagus are bright green and just beginning to take on color and the onions have softened a bit, a total of 4 to 5 minutes. (Remember these ingredients will be going into the oven, so you’re just cooking them lightly.) Transfer the vegetables from the pan to a sheet pan or large plate; spread out to cool slightly.

4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Add the ricotta, the ½ cup Parmigiano, 2 teaspoons of the herbs, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and several grinds of pepper. Set aside.

5. Dust a rolling surface with all-purpose flour. Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle about 14 inches long and 10 or 11 inches wide. Transfer to the baking sheet.

6. Use a sharp knife and a ruler to score (don’t cut through) a border all the way around the pastry, about ¾ to 1 inch in from the edge. Use a fork to prick holes, spaced about a half-inch apart, all over the pastry inside the border.

7. Use a silicone spatula to spread the ricotta mixture over the surface of the dough. Spoon and scatter the sautéed asparagus mixture over the ricotta, spacing things out as best you can. Sprinkle the remaining few tablespoons of Parmigiano over the top.

8. Bake, rotating the sheet pan back to front once during cooking, until the pastry is puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.

9. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, garnish with herb leaves, and cut into slices to serve warm.