I always keep a few packages of frozen puff pastry in my freezer and one in my refrigerator, thawed, ready to use. I don’t want to have to wait for the pastry to thaw if I have spontaneous inspiration or last minute guests.
This is a recipe that came from one of those inspirations. I had a box of gorgeous organic multicolor tiny tomatoes, a ball of whole milk mozzarella cheese nearing its expiration date, some roasted garlic and free time — and this recipe was the result.
It makes a dazzling presentation and can be served at an elegant party or for Monday night football. Sports enthusiasts may think it’s fancy pizza, at a family dinner, it will be a delightful appetizer.
As I have said, I always keep a package of puff pastry thawed in my refrigerator but if you don’t, the toughest part of this recipe is remembering to thaw the pastry the night before. Also, use whole milk mozzarella. It’s very important when there are so few ingredients they need to be right. This isn’t the time to go low fat or non-fat.
I prep the tomatoes the day before and toss them with the garlic and olive oil, so the flavors can meld. You can also do it all last minute.
If you haven’t worked with frozen puff pastry, this is a great recipe to get you started. The only downside is that you may decide, like me, that you need to keep puff pastry in your refrigerator at all times.
MOZZARELLA TART WITH ROASTED GARLIC AND TOMATOES
EVENT: 2nd Annual Apps & Alcohol
YIELD: 1 Large Tart
All purpose flour for work surface
1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator overnight
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb tiny multicolored organic tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cloves roasted or fresh garlic, finely minced or mashed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 oz. whole milk mozzarella, sliced
Fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded
Large baking sheet lined with parchment paper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Sprinkle work surface with flour.
3. Unwrap both sheets of pastry dough. Brush one short side of one sheet of dough with egg and overlap second piece of dough to form one large piece of dough.
4. Press the seal together using a rolling pin. Smooth out dough and roll piece into 18 X 19-inch size.
5. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1-inch strip from each of 4 sides. Brush sides with egg and place one strip on each side, or if you want a more rustic look, simply fold a 1-inch edge up on all 4 sides.
6. Using a fork, poke holes in the entire sheet. Sprinkle with half of Parmesan cheese and bake 13-15 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake 13-15 minutes longer, until crisp.
7. Remove from oven. This can be done early in the day and set aside.
8. Either the day before or while pastry is baking, cut up tomatoes and toss with olive oil, garlic and salt. Set aside.
9. Just before serving, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
10. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly over the tart. Top with tomatoes and garlic mixture. Top with half of Parmesan cheese.
11. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
12. Remove from oven. Top with fresh basil, cut and serve.