This time of year (at least where I live), having puff pastry in the freezer is like having half of a meal made before even starting to cook.
Just throw something pretty on puff pastry, add some cheese, and (wowza!) dinner’s on the coffee table in 30 minutes.
And because I hang out at the farmers market with Jedd selling his wares, that means I get to know the vendors. They’re nice and generous. Sometimes they slip me extra tomatoes because they know that I’m a tomato geek.
As a gesture of goodwill, I bring them scones on chilly days.
It’s a good relationship.
Some other fun “fresh from the market” combinations on puff pastry are:
Quickly blanched green beans with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella.
Sauteed greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens or beet greens) with fresh jalapenos, onions – garlic if you’re so inclined – and tomatoes.
Roasted root vegetables with honey and goat cheese
Weeknight Heirloom Tomato Tart
4 plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup ricotta
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
1 piece puff pastry, room temperature
½ cup shredded parmesan
1 egg or 1 tablespoon melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the tomatoes ½-inch thick and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Combine the ricotta, lemon juice, parsley and thyme in a separate small bowl.
Sprinkle a work surface with flour, and roll the puff pastry out to a 12×12 square. (Or not. It’s a tart. You can’t go wrong. Make it a 12×10, or a 9×12. It’s all good.)
Place the pastry on a rimmed cookie sheet. (This is the most important step! It sounds silly, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve assembled the whole thing – and then had to move it with two spatulas. Murphy’s law dictates that when this happens, I’ve also consumed copious amounts of coffee and I’m totally jittery. Learn from my mistakes! Save yourselves!)
Spread the ricotta mixture on the puff pastry, leaving a 1 ½ to 2-inch border. Top the ricotta with parmesan and tomatoes. Pull the sides of the pastry up, and brush with beaten egg or melted butter.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
(Photos by Launie Kettler)