A quick freezer organizing the other day turned up a small container of basil pesto as well as an unopened box of puff pastry. These items along with some fresh basil from my mom, some good old Vermont cheddar in my fridge, and a couple of lovely tomatoes from my farmer's market led to the creation of this fab little side-dish.
Inspired by a similar recipe I saw recently at The Kitchn, this tart was a delicious accompaniment to some grilled chicken and a fresh green salad the other night, but would be equally as good as a veggie pizza main dish, or even as a finger friendly appetizer served with cocktails. Doll it up by using tomatoes of different hues, other fresh herbs, or a custom blend of cheeses. Whatever you do, it'll be hard to go wrong with this summery treat.
Cheers – Steve
- 2 large, ripe tomatoes cut into 1/8" slices
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- 3 tablespoons basil pesto
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 12 fresh basil leaves cut into chiffonade
- freshly grated parmesan to taste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels, then lay the tomato slices on the sheet. Top with another layer of towels, then place an empty sheet tray on-top. Let sit for 30 minutes to extract as much liquid from the slices as possible.
- Thaw the puff pastry at room temperature for 30 minutes while the tomato slices are draining.
- Heat the oven to 400℉.
- Unfold the puff pastry onto a parchment lined baking sheet. use a fork to prick the dough all over to prevent it from puffing when baked.
- Spread the pesto over the pastry, then top with about 3/4 of a cup of grated cheddar cheese. Place the tomatoes on next; season liberally with salt and pepper. Scatter the basil over the slices, then sprinkle on the remaining cheddar and finish with freshly grated parmesan to taste.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.