Once again, a box of frozen puff pastry solved all of my problems. I wanted to bring a nice app to an summer poolside party but although it had to be pretty and delicious, it also had to be kind of quick and easy. Since, as always, I had a box of my favourite pre rolled puff pastry from PC in the freezer and a container of ricotta, it was obvious that I would make a little tart. A quick trip up to the Magical Asian produce store provided some nice yellow cocktail tomatoes, red cherry tomatoes and some Ontario asparagus. You can mix it up and use whatever bit of vegetable you have - it would be just as delicious with freshly shucked peas or leftover roasted vegetables, for instance.
You can mix the ricotta hours ahead of time and if you can't find z'atar you can just sprinkle a bit of fresh thyme over the top but do try to find the z'atar because z'atar makes everything better.
Tomato, Asparagus and Ricotta Tart
|makes 24 app servings or 12 large pieces|
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed according to package directions.
2 cups ricotta
1/4 cup grated parmesan + more for grating on the tarts
1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
few grinds black pepper
250g yellow tomatoes
small handful of red cherry tomatoes
12 spears of asparagus
a couple of tbls z'atar
Mix the ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup parmesan, 1 beaten egg, fresh herbs, salt and pepper in a big bowl and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour for the flavours to intensify.
Thinly slice your tomatoes and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400F
If you are not using pre rolled puff pastry, roll each sheet out until it's approx 10"x10" but if you can, buy pre rolled pastry like the PC puff pastry.
Cut each sheet of thawed puff pastry into six rectangles with a pizza cutter and set them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use your pastry cutter to score a border around the rectangles close to the edge (don't cut all the way through). You can also use a sharp knife. Using a fork prick the pastry all over inside the scored edge. Pop these into the oven for about 5 minutes just to precook a tiny bit before adding the cheese. Take them out when they are just starting to puff up and look like they are not completely raw (between 5 to 8 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom after the first five minutes if the top pan still looks too raw) and set them aside to cool down a bit.
|I like to make them pretty and uniform but you don't have to be that picky|
Divide the ricotta mixture amongst the pastry and spread it out thickly, trying to keep it inside the scored border. Cut the asparagus so that the spears fit on the pastry and set one on each tart, artfully arranging tomato slices on the tart as well. If you don't care about them looking quite so perfect and uniform, feel free to just wing it. Grate a bit more parmesan over them and then sprinkle each with a bit of z'atar.
|ready to pop back in the oven|
Bake in the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes minutes, rotating the baking pans halfway through. You want to bake until you get a nice, golden crust to make sure the pastry is well cooked and isn't soggy in the middle.
You can serve hot within a few minutes of taking them out of the oven or cool them to room temp. You will either have 12 large rectangles or you can cut each in half to give you 24 squares.