Summery Bulgur Napoleon Recipe
With the beautiful summery weather we're having, a refreshing savory mille-feuille that consists of bulgur is ideal to cool off. A mille-feuille in French literally translates to "thousand leaves" but in fact it's just a fancy name for layered puff pastry (the famous Napoléon).
I flavored the bulgur with marinated artichokes, red, green and yellow roasted bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms and a lot of mint. The pastry layers were simply brushed with an egg wash, sprinkled with herbes de Provence and a little cheddar cheese and baked until completely puffed. I tried to create a visually appealing dish bursting with colors and invigorating flavors, and i have to say, mission accomplished. Remember, we eat with our eyes first!
Yields: 4 servings6 (5 x 5") squares puff pastry
¼ cup cheddar cheese, freshly shaved
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
2¼ cups vegetable broth
1 cup bulgur (see tips)
⅛ teaspoon turmeric
3 marinated artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
3 roasted bell peppers (any color)
4 shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 sprig thyme
½ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons white onion, chopped
juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
For the egg wash: Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.
For the puff pastry:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut 2 (2" x 5") rectangles per square.
Line a baking pan with a silicone mat. Place the rectangles of dough. Make sure they are spaced out so they won't touch each other while baking. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Sprinkle with herbes de Provence and Cheddar cheese. Prick the dough. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and another baking pan to prevent the puff pastry from rising too much.
Bake for 13 minutes at 350°F until golden. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Transfer the rectangles of dough to cooling racks and let cool to room temperature.
Pour the vegetable broth into a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the bulgur and turmeric. Cover and lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes, until the liquid evaporates. Fluff the bulgur with a fork. It should be on the soft side. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Cover and let cool to room temperature.
Prepping the flavorings for the bulgur:
In a mini-food prep, combine the artichoke, bell pepper and mint. Coarsely blend; you still want to be able to have a chunky texture. Set aside.
In a small pan, heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook until lightly golden. Add the mushrooms. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Then add the artichoke bell pepper mixture. Turn off the heat. Stir well. Drizzle with lemon.
Line up 4 individual serving plates.
Place 1 layer of dough on a plate. Spoon about 2 "quenelles" over it (using 2 tablespoons, gather one portion of the bulgur mixture in one spoon. Scrape the loose mixture from the sides using the other spoon. Repeat between the 2 spoons until the mound is tightly packed. Slide the mound of bulgur onto the top of the puff pastry. Place another layer of dough on top and gently press. Repeat the same procedure for the second level and finally top with the final piece of pastry.
Garnish with the greens (you could use grilled asparagus; I used sugar snap peas) and a small amount of truffle vinaigrette (recipe follows) on the side.
Serve at room temperature.
I used Trader Joe's 10-minute bulgur. If you don't have any, you could use semolina, quinoa, farro berries, regular couscous, Israeli couscous, or even cooked pasta such as orzo.
You could also serve this dish as a deconstructed napoléon with fewer puff pastry sheets: serve the bulgur on the side and form a pyramid shape with halved puff pastry.
Little reminder on how to roast bell peppers: Wash the bell peppers and pat dry. Place them on the grill of a stove burner and char all the skin. Wrap in aluminum foil. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Wash under running water and the skin will come right off. Seed and coarsely chop, drizzle with oil and season with salt; set aside until needed.
For the truffle balsamic vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine mustard, a bit of honey, lemon juice and olive oil. Whisk well, season with salt and pepper. Finish with truffle balsamic vinegar. You could also use your favorite salad dressing instead.
Note: If you want to prevent the napoléon from sliding away on the plate, I'd suggest spooning a bit of the vinaigrette before placing the first layer of pastry dough.
I garnished this light dish with sugar snap peas that I harvested from our garden for the first time this year.May 13, 2014.