May 24th, 2010 —

It’s prime season for asparagus in Michigan. Just north of Whitehall in Oceana County is the largest concentration of asparagus farms in the state. In fact, Michigan ranks third in asparagus production in the nation. So, it’s only natural that asparagus will be on the breakfast menu at White Swan Inn B&B during the growing season.

When the first asparagus stalks show up at the local farm markets in late spring, I am always excited to introduce this wonderful vegetable to my B&B guests. Occasionally, I will note that a guest seems to be unsure about trying a dish featuring asparagus. Usually it is due to the fact that they’ve never enjoyed really fresh asparagus or have only been served some that has been “cooked to death.”

Asparagus and Red Pepper Tart

½ (15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crust, room temperature

1 Tbs. olive oil
½ lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut in one inch pieces
½ cup chopped red pepper
¼ cup chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. dried basil
2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbs. Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large skillet, lightly sauté asparagus, red pepper and onion in olive oil, season with salt, pepper and basil. Unroll pie crust and place on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on pie crust within an inch of the edge. Spread cooked vegetable mix evenly on top of mozzarella. Top with feta cheese. Fold edge of pie crust over vegetable/cheese mix. The crust will not cover completely vegetable mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until dough is lightly browned.

Remove from oven, sprinkle Parmesan evenly over the crust and exposed vegetables and bake for 5 more minutes. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 2-3

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