Monday, May 30, 2011

Recipe:Zucchini and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart

Today is the beginning of my official return to blogging! Really, I promise this time.  With that in mind, it is also the beginning of summer, fresh vegetables are aplenty and I have a plethora of posts in my head.   I made this zucchini tart so I could experiment with store bought puff pastry.  And let me tell you, there is a significant difference between ordinary not all butter puff pastry and Dufour puff pastry.  I've made puff pastry from scratch, roll, add more butter, fold, roll and repeat- about a hundred times. I did not have my home-made version next to it, but truly- once baked I could not have told the difference.  What I figured out was that some of the other brands have additives and are not 100 percent butter, Dufour is nothing but flour, water, butter. I never said it was low fat- but if you're going to make puff pastry, lets do it right please.  To make this lower in fat, the zucchini can be placed directly on a lightly greased glass pie pan, layered with the mozzarella and then more zucchini with pesto and herbs on top.  Maybe I'll make that another day, (like right before having to hop into my bathing suit!).  As for today though, we're going with the yummy all butter version.

Defrost the puff pastry in the refrigerator, its best to keep it somewhat cool at all times.  If you want it a little more golden brown, you can add an egg wash right before baking.  I used zucchini because it's what's in season, but I think some beautiful heirloom tomatoes or asparagus would work nicely as well.
If I was using tomatoes, I would just slice them thickly and not saute them.  For asparagus, I would lightly blanch them if they are thick or saute just a little if pencil thin.

Zucchini and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart

1/2 cup homemade pesto (recipe in index)
2 small zucchini or summer squash, sliced
1 package Dufour puff pastry, defrosted (I found it at Whole Foods)
Olive oil
coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Assorted Herbs (I used thyme, basil, oregano and parsley)
2-3 large balls freshwater mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Roll out puff pastry on a parchment covered baking sheet.  With a sharp knife or pastry cutter, score all around the sides of the rectangle, one inch from the edge.  This will make the sides puff up higher and give the appearance of a crust.

2. In a large saute pan over medium high heat, heat olive oil until almost smoking, a couple of minutes.
Place zucchini in pan, season with a little salt and pepper and lightly brown on both sides.

3. Arrange zucchini evenly over pesto on puff pastry shell.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until shell is puffed ad very light brown.  Remove from the oven and top with freshwater mozzarella slices and about half of the fresh herbs.  Continue to bake until cheese has melted and crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven and top with additional fresh herb chiffonade and drizzle a little more pesto on top if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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