Premade puff pastry, unfussy prep on the garden veggies and a sprinkling of local cheese make these little rustic tarts SO simple and yet absolutely irresistible. You will have more slices of veggies and figs than you will need for the pastries, so just jumble them all up in a bowl; add some good vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and indulge in the prettiest salad of the summer!
Makes 12 individual tarts
For the veggies:
2 heirloom tomatoes
1 small eggplant, strips of peel removed with a peeler
1 small red onion, skin removed
1 small red bell pepper, seeds removed
1 poblano pepper, seeds removed
2 or 3 figs
5-6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
Cut all of the above, except the cherry tomatoes, in paper thin slices.
To finish the tarts:
Extra virgin olive oil for glossing
3 sheets Aussie Bakery puff pastry, thawed but still very cold
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water (this is your egg wash)
1/3 cup basil pesto
6 ounces Mount Townsend New Moon or Campfire Cheese, grated (or your favorite melty cheese)
4 ounces Parmigiana Reggiano, grated
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper for sprinkling
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
Basil leaves for garnish
Lay the tomato slices out on a clean dish towel to drain any excess liquid. Brush very lightly with olive oil. Toss or brush all of the rest of the veggies (and figs), separately, with olive oil.
Combine the 2 cheeses.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the puff pastry into rounds with a large cookie cutter (4 inches is a nice size) and lay out on a baking pan. With a fork, poke holes all over the surface of each round (this is called docking) and brush each lightly with egg wash. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just lightly golden brown.
Let the pastries cool slightly and gently spread about 1 teaspoon basil pesto over the surface of each. Top each with 2-3 tablespoons of cheese and 3-4 slices of one of the toppings, overlapping the slices but laying them to the very edge of the pastry. (Top the heirloom tomato slices with a few cherry tomato halves) You will be making 2 of each kind. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with a little more cheese. Sprinkle a pinch of chopped rosemary over each pastry and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
Serve garnished with either whole leaves of basil, or a chiffonade of basil leaves. (If you have a fabulous extra virgin olive oil I don’t see why you couldn’t add a little drizzle before you serve these!)