Asparagus and Cheese Pastry Parcels

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: easy

Mr WDC
Three asparagus and pastry recipes. Choose from goats cheese and spinach, taleggio and mushroom, or gruyere. All are quite simple and  ideal for a light lunch or supper - or make in advance for a party or a picnic.

What you need

Goats cheese and spinach pastry parcel (square)

Makes 4

200g asparagus ‘tips’

375g ready rolled puff pastry

200g spinach

2 spring onions – chopped finely

100g crumbly goats cheese

1 medium egg – beaten

 

Asparagus, taleggio, mushrooms and parsley parcels (folded)

Makes 6

460g asparagus (24 spears)

375g ready rolled puff pastry

300g button mushrooms

2 spring onions – chopped finely

300g taleggio cheese

25g fresh  parsley

1 medium egg – beaten

Asparagus and Gruyere parcels (rolled)

Makes 16

400g or more of asparagus – i.e. 16 long and thick spears

375g ready rolled puff pastry

100g gruyere cheese (or Parmesan) grated

1 medium egg – beaten

 



How Dad Cooked It

These recipes all use the ready rolled type of puff pastry which is readily available. Normally, if I buy the ready roll pastry, I will still roll it out to make it thinner. However, I have chosen to keep the thickness as it is for the sake of simplicity – so you have no real excuse not to cook with pastry – what’s more there is no flour and no mess on the counter! Do roll if you want a more refined parcel with thinner pastry – adjust the recipes to suit. The ingredients for each are fairly transferrable, so feel free to mix and match. Finally, the common way with pastry and asparagus is to make a large flan from a single piece of pastry. This would work just as well with any or all of the incredients…

Goats cheese and spinach pastry parcel (square)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C Gas 6.

2. For the asparagus, snap off the base of the stalk with your hands and trim the spears with a peeler, then rinse in water. (TIP: peel the asparagus before rinsing – it is easier to peel…). Using a shallow and wide saucepan with lid, fill the pan half-way with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus to the pan, put on the lid and time from when the water just comes to the boil – cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a plate, then put onto kitchen towels to drain excess water. Use three or four spears per parcel, depending on thickness. Cut the asparagus into 3cm pieces.

3. For the spinach, rinse and drain the spinach and cook on a high heat in a large pan. When all the spinach has wilted, cook for a minute more and then strain. Splash cold water over the spinach and push into the strainer to remove as much excess water as possible. Chop the spinach with a sharp knife.

4. To make the parcels, take the pastry out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes, unroll, leaving it on its baking paper. Use a knife to cut the pastry in half lengthwise – this makes the tops and bottoms of the parcels. Then cut across the pastry (right angles to the original cut) to make the individual pieces for the parcels – first cut in half and then cut each half in half again. This will make eight pieces. Work directly into these pieces without taking off the baking paper. First fill the bases with about a tablespoon of the spinach (leaving an edge around the base for the top to join. Then sprinkle a little onion on each, then crumble a quarter of the cheese on each, and then the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. For each parcel, take a knife and make diagonal cuts in the top. Brush egg onto the edges of the base.  Take the top and put over the base, stretching the sides to meet the edges all around. Use a fork to crimp the edges to seal the parcel and make an attractive edge.  Cut the paper around the parcels from and place on a baking sheet and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

5. Brush the tops of the parcels with egg (leave the paper on or slide it off). Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the base is cooked and the top is browned. Serve warm, with a salad and plain boiled potatoes.

Asparagus, taleggio, mushrooms and parsley parcels (folded)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C Gas 6.

2. For the asparagus, snap off the base of the stalk with your hands and trim the spears with a peeler, then rinse in water. (TIP: peel the asparagus before rinsing – it is easier to peel…). Using a shallow and wide saucepan with lid, fill the pan half-way with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus to the pan, put on the lid and time from when the water just comes to the boil – cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a plate, then put onto kitchen towels to drain excess water. Use four spears per parcel.

3. For the mushrooms. Finely chop and fry in a littel butter and oil until the moisture has been cooked out and they just start to brown from frying. Cool and set aside

4. To make the parcels, take the pastry out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes, unroll, leaving it on its baking paper. These parcels use single pieces of pastry in a square. Use a knife to cut the pastry in half lengthwise. Then cut two lines across the pastry (right angles to the original cut) in equal thirds to make the individual pieces for the parcels. This should make six square pieces. Work directly into these pieces without taking off the baking paper. The parcels are filled at a diagonal across the square – with the two corners left and right folded over. First fill the bases with mushrooms. Then sprinkle a little onion on each. Cut any rind from the taleggio and divide evenly among the parcels – about 38g for each. Then lay four spears of asparagus down followed by a sprinkling of parsley. Season with salt and pepper. For each parcel, fold the edge ‘flaps’ over the asparagus and join (using a little egg). Cut the paper around the parcels and place on a baking sheet and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

5. Brush the tops of the parcels with egg (leave the paper on or slide it off). Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the base is cooked and the top is browned. NB: it would be advisable to cook these in two batches so the sheet is not too crowed. Serve warm, with a salad and plain boiled potatoes.

Asparagus and gruyere parcels (rolled)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C Gas 6.

2. For the asparagus, snap off the base of the stalk with your hands and trim the spears with a peeler, then rinse in water. (TIP: peel the asparagus before rinsing – it is easier to peel…). Using a shallow and wide saucepan with lid, fill the pan half-way with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus to the pan, put on the lid and time from when the water just comes to the boil – cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a plate, then put onto kitchen towels to drain excess water.

3. To make the parcels, take the pastry out of the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes, unroll, leaving it on its baking paper. Use a knife to cut the pastry in half lengthwise. Then cut across the pastry (right angles to the original cut) to make the individual pieces for the parcels – first cut in half and then cut each half in half again, and then each in half again to make eight pieces across top and bottom. Work directly into these pieces without taking off the baking paper. First fill the bases down the middle with grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. For each parcel, place a spear on the left side of the long strip and brush egg on the right side of the strip. Then roll over and join to make the long pastry rolls. Lift the rolls from the paper and place on a baking sheet and rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

5. Brush the tops of the parcels with egg and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the base is cooked and the top is browned. NB: it would be advisable to cook these in two batches so the sheet is not too crowed. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In San Joaquin County, at Stockton California they stage an Asparagus Festival in April. Stockton is the centre of asparagus growing in California so it makes sense to celebrate the crop. I've always been fascinated by the huge spears and takeaway fairground style of eating. I reckon these are as near as your going to get to the Stockton real McCoys. Eat al fresco!
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