Thursday, 4 April 2013

Outrageous Tarts!

Torte Salate di Avocado, Erbe Miste & Parmigiano, con Salsa di Pomodoro
Avocado, Herb & Parmesan Tarts with Tomato Relish

Of course you are supposed to be shocked by that brazen heading- but please... don't be dismayed! These tarts are of the edible kind- and outrageous only in their deliciousness!
At the same time, as with almost everything that I prepare, they are quick, inexpensive and very easy to make! 

One avocado, one egg, one packet of puff pastry, a 2" chunk of parmesan and some basil, parsley and oregano for flavor... that's all it took to make these! Now, that's got your attention, hasn't it? Or was it the way they look? Or how you imagine them to taste? Because let me tell you... these taste exactly as good as they look... and then some!

I started off by preparing the filling for the tarts- so to do that, I had to halve my avocado. I took one half, and cut that in turn in half, then cut three slits into each quarter, so that I could fan it decoratively on top later- as you can see in the photos. I drizzled the quarters very lightly with olive oil and set them to one side- then took the remaining half of the avocado and mashed it to a smooth paste with a fork. 

I added the egg, 3/4's of the parmesan cheese, grated, and a handful each of basil, parsley and oregano. I seasoned with salt and pepper, grated a little nutmeg into it and then mixed everything together thoroughly... and voila! My tart-filling was ready!

Next step was to prepare the bases- which were simply squares, cut to a little larger size than the avocado itself... I wanted to fit those slices on top after all! So- the sizes of your squares will depend on the avocado you use of course! I reinforced the outer edges with an extra strip of pastry to give added height and to hold the filling in place- these need only be pressed down firmly and they will stick all by themselves during baking.

I turned the oven on to 400°F to heat up and popped in my try to make sure it would be nice and hot in a few minutes time... and got back to assembling my little masterpieces. I carefully spooned the filling into the middle of the pastry squares and coaxed it into shape with a spoon,,, you don't need to be too exact as it will melt and flow into place by itself whilst the pastry puffs up anyway. I then laid one of the quarters of avocado, fanned-out, onto each tart and then sprinkled them with the remaining parmesan... easy! And into the oven they went, with the heat reduced to 350° for 20-30 minutes, until puffed up, golden brown and delicious!

The "relish" of tomatoes, was simply made by dicing cherry tomatoes, adding finely chopped basil, a little olive oil, sugar, salt, Tabasco and white balsamic vinegar. And need I say more than- together they made a great combination?!?! I should think not! So- get out there, grab these ingredients and try them out for yourselves... you're going to like them!

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