Saturday, March 2, 2013

Speedy Italian Tart

There are many days in your life when you think "there's absolutely nothing to eat in this house" and to be honest, you're usually wrong.  The fridge has lots of food, but you're just not in the mindframe to work out what goes with what and it's then you think a takeaway would do the job.  Stop!  Based on what I found lurking in my fridge this week, the contents created an absolutely delicious lunch for us.

This impromptu feast was comprised of a packet of ready rolled puff pastry (dead handy to keep in the freezer for emergencies such as these.  Yes, you could make your own but let's go shopbought...), some tomato puree, half a punnet of exhausted mushrooms, some fatigued tomatoes, the remains of a packet of parma ham, a ball of mozzarella and some oregano from the pot on the windowsill. If you have a jar of antipasti in the cupboard like roasted peppers or artichokes, drain them well and add them to the tart - it's very forgiving and basically, anything goes.

Speedy Italian Tart

1 sheet ready rolled Puff Pastry
3 tsp Tomato Puree or Pesto
75g Mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 bunch Spring Onions, shredded
5 slices Parma Ham
100g Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 ball Mozzarella, thinly sliced
Black Pepper
Fresh Oregano or Basil (to sprinkle over the baked tart)

Preheat your oven to 200c/Gas Mark 6.  Grab your largest baking sheet, dust it with flour and place your sheet of puff pastry on it.

Grab your sharpest knife and score a border about 2cm from the edge along the four sides.  You'll see why I tell you to do this when the tart comes out of the oven.

Spread the tomato puree or pesto across the pastry, stopping at the score marks. Now layer the mushrooms,spring onions, parma ham, tomatoes and mozzarella on top.  I'd recommend that you halve the tomatoes and squeeze out the seeds before putting them on the tart - this gets rid of all the wateryness and intensifies the tomato flavour.  Add some ground black pepper and bake for 20 minutes.

The tart will emerge from the oven with a gorgeous raised edge (that's why I told you to score the pastry), full of fragrant veggies, salty Italian ham and melted cheese.  All it needs is a sprinkling of fresh oregano or basil leaves and a handful of salad to counteract the pastry!

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