As you ready yourself for the spring holidays and general turn-of-the-season entertaining, consider adding this simple (yet impressive-looking) recipe to your arsenal. Elegant, party-ready foods needn’t take much of your time to prepare, or be particularly difficult to execute. Here, I use a sheet of puff pastry, onion, herbs, cherry tomatoes, feta and French olives (all of which happened to be in my refrigerator) to make these bite-size tarts. This combo makes a great Mediterranean-inspired dish, but really any mixture of pantry items will do. Consider it my contribution to your spring cleaning.
Yield: 12 small tarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
4 tablespoons olive oil
12 small thyme sprigs
24 olives, cut in half
12 cherry tomatoes
1 medium onion (try to find one that will fit in the bottom of the muffin cups, cut into thin circles)
1 sheet puff pastry
1/2 cup soft feta, goat cheese or ricotta
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar (the sweeter, the better)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Divide the olive oil, thyme, olives and tomatoes in the bottom of 12 muffin cups.
Cover with a slice of the onion.
Using a round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out circles of the puff pastry (the circles should be slightly bigger than the top of the muffin cup, since they will shrink in the oven) and place over the onion. Gently push the pastry circles over the onions, so they are a snug fit.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and well puffed.
Allow to cool for just a moment before inverting onto a tray.
Add the cheese, drizzle with balsamic, add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day andArtisan Pizza and Flatbreads in 5 Minutes a Day, studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com, and on the site www.breadin5.com.