Years ago, long before I worked in wine, I visited wine country whenever extra time and money made themselves available. Over the years, I warmed the sheets in quite a few wine country Inns. This tart recipe is from one such place – Sonoma’s Hidden Oak Inn. It features a tangy goat cheese which is the classic pairing with crisp Sauvignon Blanc, both items being native to the Loire Valley, where one is seldom found without the other.
It is a simple recipe, but an enjoyable one – a perfect combination. It calls for a frozen pie crust, but those with the inclination and time can certainly bake their own.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Sauté shallot in 1 tablespoon of bacon grease for about 1 minute. Add asparagus and cook over medium-high heat until the asparagus is tender. Remove the pan from heat and add crumbled bacon. On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out the pastry to a 10 by 16-inch rectangle. Transfer the pastry and the parchment to a baking sheet.Using your fingers, pat the goat cheese onto the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the asparagus, bacon and shallot mixture evenly over the goat cheese. Sprinkle with fresh basil and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together the egg yolk and a splash of water (~1.2 tsp) then brush the edge of the tart with egg wash.Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Let cool slightly, slice and serve warm with a simple salad of mixed greens splashed with really good olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Pairs perfectly with a crisp white wine such as a racy Sauvignon Blanc or old world Chenin Blanc.
Cheers, Dave the Wine Merchant