My very first blog recipe is coming your way today. eeeEEEE! I can not lie – it’s a little exciting to me!
This is one of those rough and simple dishes that lends itself to all sorts of variation. And no – it’s not pizza.
This is made using a thawed sheet of frozen puff pastry dough. Don’t be afraid. This is eeaasy friends. Look for the frozen puff pastry dough in the freezer case at any grocery store. For a teeny bit of history, the ever popular Caprese Salad – consisting of layers of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil takes it’s name from the Italian island of Capri. And did you know that the proper pronunciation of the word Caprese is kah-PRAY-say??
CAPRESE PUFF PASTRY TART
1 Sheet of Frozen Puff Pastry Dough (Pepperidge Farm is the most readily available brand)
3 T. Mayonnaise (I prefer to use regular Hellman’s)
3 T. Grated Italian Cheese (such as Asiago, Parmesan or just about any cheese, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian – whatever)
2 tsp. dried Herb (Thyme, Dill, Italian Seasoning – anything you have on hand)
1 tsp. Garlic Powder (use fresh minced garlic if you feel so inclined)
Kosher Salt and Pepper (Oh, I suppose you could use regular table salt…of course you could. I just have a thing for the slightly stronger flavor and slight crunch you get from Kosher salt)
2 medium Tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 to 1/2″ thick (push out all the juicy seedy insides of each slice so the tart won’t be too runny)
6 oz (more of less) of Fresh Mozzarella, sliced (try using Havarti some time, or crumbled Blue Cheese or Goat Cheese – no need to be a purist)
Fresh Basil ~ a few tablespoons will do, chopped & divided (save a little fresh to put on at the end)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Puff Pastry comes frozen in a package with 2 sheets in the same inner wrapper. ( I have a bit of a bone to pick there. Why can’t they just wrap them individually inside the box?) Anyway, remove ONE of them from the packaging and wrap the remaining one up well to save for another bout of puff pastry goodness. Allow it to sit and defrost 15 to 20 minutes on the counter. It comes packaged folded into thirds, so once it’s thawed you can unfold it into a square-ish/rectangle on a well-floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin (or if you’re me I use my smaller hand-held pizza dough roller), roll the dough thinner to create a free-form shape – rectangle, square, anything.
In a small bowl, combine the mayo, grated Italian Cheese, herb, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Spread this over the puff pastry sheet, leaving an un-adorned border of 2-3 inches all around.
On top of the filling, create overlapping layers of tomatoes and mozzarella, sprinkled with the basil. Fold up and crimp the puff pastry border all around the tart.
Move this over to a greased metal baking sheet using a couple of big spatulas; or if you’re into it, a pre-heated stoneware pizza pan. If it starts to distort as you move it, just smoosh & pinch it back together.
Bake it for 20-25 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown around the edges and moves freely on the baking pan. Allow it to sit and cool several minutes. If you want to present it to others and it just so happened to run over in one area, then garnish it like I did with a tomato and a sprig o’ basil if you happen to have one. Doesn’t it look like it was meant to be?!
The basil you add originally turns a little dark-ish when baked. I like to fling a handful of the fresh stuff on top to brighten it up before serving.
Cut it into random wedges to serve. Eat it alone as a lunch, serve it along with a piece of grilled steak or have it for Sunday brunch with a nice runny egg on the side.
What might you do for your very own variation ?