Suzi's Blog

Savory Palmiers from Ina Garten

Palmier? Your mind instantly thinks of a wide, thin sweet pasty, laden with sugar. Perhaps paired with a cappuccino in a Paris café. They are big and they are a meal.

A savory palmier? That’s got to be an oxymoron. How could you possibly make something that is not sweet, or, worse, potentially even healthy?

Well, you can. And these palmiers, filled with homemade pesto, are every bit as addictive as the sweet ones. Better yet, you can make and freeze these. Served as appetizers or as a first course with salad, as the recipe shows below, you’ll find your dinner partners grabbing for more.

The unusual nature of these palmiers will immediately attract attention. Then, after a first bite, there will appear a smile and a quiet look of astonishment. Different, flavorful and zero calories.

Two out of three isn’t bad.

Savory Palmiers

Ingredients:

For the Palmiers:

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry, Pepperidge Farm or other, defrosted
  • 1 cup prepared pesto, store-bough or homemade
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese, such as Montrachet
  • ¼ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • ¼ cup pine nuts

For the Pesto (2 cups):

  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

For the Salad and Vinaigrette:

  • 6-8 cups torn salad greens, such as frisée, Boston, red leaf, baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons chives, cut
  • ½ teaspoon tarragon leaves, cut
  • ½ teaspoon thyme leaves, minced
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

To make the pesto: Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely puréed. Add the parmesan and purée for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Purée the goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor; stir in the pesto

Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until it is 9½ x 11½ inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, the sprinkle with half the goat cheese, half the sun-dried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt.

Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again toward the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and chill roll. Repeat for the second sheet of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients. Cover and chill.

Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry into ¼-inch-thick slices and place them face up 2 inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown.

Meanwhile the palmiers are baking, prepare the vinaigrette. In a small bowl whisk together, the olive oil, red wine vinegar and mustard to emulsify. Add the chopped herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Source: Adapted from Back to Basics by Ina Garten

Three Onion and Leek Tart with Goat Cheese and Creme Fraiche

When you call something “rustic” it’s often done with connotations. Well, it’s not Madison Avenue but, … It’s delightful, despite …

Rarely does “rustic” come across as a 110% compliment.

But there are times when it should. Flo Braker, a true national treasure of baking, has created this tart that can only be described as rustic. The thick crust must be roughly draped over the tart contents. Oh, those contents. Onion and onions and crème fraiche and goat cheese. You bite through a very thick curst, itself distinctive because of corn meal and buttermilk, and then enter the treasure of all those internal flavors.

This tart is fine cold, but really, truly, you want to sample it hot out of the oven. Gooey, flowing, a fireworks of textures and flavors.

This can be a perfect appetizer, a side dish, or — combined with an equally rustic salad — a complete meal.

With its suggested mixture of onion types, you are clearly free to mix and match to your pleasure. Each new combination will generate a distinctive, but surely delicious flavor.

Three Onion and Leek Tart with Goat Cheese and Crème Fraiche

Yield: enough for 6 persons as a side dish

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup ice water
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup corn meal
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, chunked

For the Onion Topping:

  • 1 leek, white and light green parts sliced thin and rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thin
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the Cream:

  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • ¼ cup goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

To Make the Crust:

Mix the buttermilk with the ice water in a small measuring cup and keep cold. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and cornmeal, then “pinch in” the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles a coarse meal of uneven sized crumbs. Using a tablespoon, sprinkle a bit of the buttermilk-water mixture over the meal a bit at a time and mix lightly with a fork until it begins to hold together. Only add as much liquid as needed to form a soft but not sticky dough.

Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it, wrap well in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. If you’d like to make two or more smaller tarts, divide the dough accordingly, flatten and refrigerate.

To Make the Cream:

Combine the crème fraiche, goat cheese, thyme and seasoning in a small bowl and stir until well blended. Leave at room temperature until ready to use.

To Make the Filling:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add all the vegetables at once, stirring to coat with the oil. Cook slowly, and stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft and very fragrant, but not browned, about 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

To Assemble and Bake the Tart:

Remove the dough from the fridge and between two sheets of plastic, roll into one or more disks about 1/8″ in thickness. Place on a parchment lined baking pan and spread a light layer of the crème over the surface, leaving at least a 1-inch boarder.

Mound the softened onion filling over the crème, and then fold the edge of the dough up over the filling pleating it as needed.

Lightly salt and pepper and place in a preheated 400°F oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool briefly on the baking sheet and either serve immediately, or cool completely at room temperature on a baking rack.

 

Source: Flo Braker