Tartelette Feuilletée aux Tomates Cerises et 3 Pestos (3 Pesto Caramelized Cherry Tomato Tartlet)
I received a request from Seneca Doane for a vegetarian option for the 2009 Inaugural Luncheon Menu. I checked the official menu one more time and there was none. So here is my version of the vegetarian option. Hope you like it.
Yields: 23/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated
5 cloves garlic
4 Tbs olive oil
2 squares puff pastry, store-bought
1 Tbs unsalted butter
2 tsp black peppercorns, freshly ground, to taste
1 Tbs all purpose flour
2/3 cup whole milk, warm
1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/8 cup almond flour, see tip section
5 shitake mushrooms
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1/4 cup walnut
2 Tbs walnut oil
2 tsp coarse-grained mustard
1/2 bunch dill
1/4 cup pine nuts, dry roasted
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp fleur de sel, to taste
3 dozen cherry tomatoes
1 tsp raw sugar
vegetable broth, optional, if texture is too thick
2 Tbs mozzarella, shredded
Preheat the oven to 350°F
For the mushroom pesto:
Wash the mushrooms. In a mini prep, finely chop 3 mushrooms. Add 1 Tbs of oil in a pan, add 1 tsp of chopped garlic then cook the mushrooms for about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper. Remove from the heat then let it cool down a little.
Transfer the mushrooms to the mini prep, add 1 tsp of garlic, the walnuts, the sherry vinegar, the mustard, 1/4 cup of parmesan and 2 Tbs of walnut oil. It should turn into a spreadable smooth creamy paste.
For the sun-dried tomato pesto:
In a mini prep , mix the sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tsp of garlic, 1/8 cup of almond flour, 1/4 cup of parmesan and 2 Tbs of olive oil.
For the dill pesto:
Blanch (dip for 15 seconds in boiling water then transfer in an ice bath) the dill, drain, then dry thoroughly of all water, then pat dry on a paper towel. Roughly chop - you'll get approximatively 1/4 cup of greens.
Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, I grind the dry ingredients (pine nuts, 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper) and then transfer and mix the rest (1/4 cup of parmesan, 1 tsp of garlic and 2 Tbs of olive oil) using a mini food processor.
For the béchamel sauce:
It's the same procedure as the Mac N Cheese. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat; you don't want the butter to burn. Bring the heat back up to a medium high (it should be hot and golden) then add the flour. Keep stirring manually with a whisk for approximately 3 minutes. The flour should absorb the butter instantly and form a paste. Add the milk in 3 stages. Increase the heat while constantly stirring for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low. Add 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Add the cream cheese and 2 Tbs of the dill pesto. Let the sauce rest until it's time to assemble the dish.
For the puff pastry:
Place the 2 squares of puff pastry on a baking sheet, leaving its parchment paper underneath. Place ceramic pie weights in the middle of each square. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Remove the pie weights and let it cool down.
Slice the 2 remaining shitake mushrooms. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add 1 clove of finely chopped garlic, cook until slightly golden. Add the mushrooms. Add the salt and pepper. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate and set aside.
Wash the tomatoes. Make a small criss-cross cut on each of the tomatoes using a bread knife (I use a breadknife because the blade won't bruise the fruit). In the same pan used previously for the mushrooms, add another tablespoon of oil, the remaining chopped garlic and cook until slightly golden. Add the fresh tomatoes. Sprinkle with sugar then add a dash of water. Season with salt and pepper. Then transfer the tomatoes to a plate and set aside.
On the same baking sheet, spread a layer of mushroom pesto on each puff pastry. Then apply a layer of tomato pesto, and finish with a layer of the dill-pesto bechamel. Place the sliced mushrooms and sprinkle a tablespoon of shredded mozzarella on top of each tartlet. Bake for another 5 minutes. The cheese will melt. Broil for 3 minutes, the edges of the puff pastry will get golden brown. Remove from the oven immediately, then spoon the caramelized garlic cherry tomatoes on top.
Place pastries on serving plate. Garnish with dill weed sprigs. Let the tartlets cool down a bit, the tomatoes are extremely hot. Serve warm.
Pesto is very easy to make. I always make extra that I store in my freezer. If you make an extra batch of pesto, you can store the rest in an ice-cube tray then freeze them. I transfer the ice-cubes 3 by 3 into bags that I vacuum-seal and place back in the freezer. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I keep them exactly the same way I would do with my extra papaya seeds for cooking meat. You can store the pesto in your freezer for up to 6 months or for 2 weeks in your refrigerator.
I love experimenting with new flavors. Pestos are so versatile. You can pick any nut, herb or dry fruit, oil and cheese; add salt and pepper and you're done.
To release all the flavor and oil of the nuts, I like to roast them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 325°F prior to use them. The only nuts that I dry roast over the stove are pine nuts. They are smaller and much easier to manipulate over the stove.
You can either buy ready-made almond flour, or make it yourself. Remember to get a little more than 125 grams of whole almonds to get the correct amount of flour. Place whole almonds in a metal bowl, then cover them with boiling water. Let it sit for no longer than 2 minutes. Strain and transfer them into an cold water bath. Pat them dry on a towel, and the skins should come right off. Then grind them with a food processor or spice grinder. Make sure you stop before it turns into almond butter. I use the VitaMix Dry Blade Container. The result should be a fine white mill.
The vegetable broth is optional. If you think your pesto is a little too thick you can either add more oil or if you're health-conscious, you can thin the pesto with a vegetable broth. It won't affect the taste of the pesto at all.
These tartlets are perfect for vegetarians. The 3 layers of nut pesto provide plenty of protein.
You can also serve them as amuse-bouches. Using a cookie cutter, make smaller dough disks to make one-bite appetizers and finish with only one caramelized tomato on top.Published By: on January 23, 2009.