Tuscan Kale, Feta Cheese, Zucchini & Sun-Dried Tomato Puff Pastries
It's my party and I'll eat what I want to! Well, actually, I did not have a party at all this evening, but I still invented these wonderful snacks that would be great for my next party- haha! Not that they were bad this evening though!
I improvised thes great, puff-pastry "crowns", just using the vegetables I happened to have in the fridge and a little imagination... Which is of course, always the very best ingredient of all!
3 little bites to each snack...mouth how tasty they are! Hints of bitter, sweet, salty and buttery flakiness combine to make these into real treats! So satisfying in so many ways! And yes... So easy to make as well!
To make 12 little snacks, I needed 1 roll of puff pastry, 1 small head of kale, 1 zucchini, 1 shallot, 1 egg, 1/2 a block of feta cheese, 2 tablespoons of bread crumbs, 4 sun-dried tomatoes, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
These really make a change from the usual party fare, with a sophisticated and more subtle flavors than most... Perfect to enjoy with drinks and that is always a good thing!
Step one is to turn on the oven to get it warm and step two is to rinse the kale, shake it almost dry and then pop it into a dry frying pan. Pop on the lid and let it cook in its own steam and moisture for 3-4 minutes. In that time, it will turn a brighter green, become slightly shiny and will be more or less cooked, without being soggy... Which is exactly what you want from an ingredient that is going to be wrapped up in pastry.
After around 5 minutes of cooking, it will also begin to turn brown in places, which is fine, but that is also the point that you want to set it to one side to cool and continue with the other ingredients.
Add the finely sliced shallot into the pan with a splash of olive oil, then quickly, coarsely grate the zucchini and add that too. Sauté for 3-4 minutes and then also set aside to cool for a minute or two.
Pop the grated zucchini and shallot into a bowl and sprinkle with the bread crumbs...Mathis will help absorb any excess moisture, to bind the mixture and also to cool it off more quickly.
Next, chop the kale up rather finely and add it together with the egg, the feta cheese, crumbled, the sun-dried tomatoes finely sliced and season well with pepper and nutmeg. Add just a little salt, but not too much on account of there being salty the cheese and tomatoes in there already.
Stir together thoroughly, simply using a fork or spoon... No need for any gadgets to make this!
The mixture should be colorful and moist but not soggy. Should you for some reason have too much moisture in there, simply add a few bread crumbs more. They will absorb any excess moisture with changing or ruining the flavor or consistency.
Simply cut the pastry into 2 equal strips lengthways and add the filling generously down the middle.
Carefully roll and fold shut, tucking the filling snugly into the pastry if needs be, but in any case, make sure the pastry overlaps and seals nicely.
Next, using a sharp knife, first remove the uneven ends and then cut into sections of around 4" in length.
Using that sharp knife again, make 2 neat cuts and fan-out the pastry carefully into 3 sections as you can see in this photo. This will allow any excess water to evaporate during baking... And simply look adorable at the same time!
Bake in a hot oven, at 180-190 C for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven, until they become a beautiful golden brown... A little bit like these here!
Allow to cool before serving... But at the same time... Allow yourself to try one whilst they are still hot if you feel that way inclined... You do after all deserve to enjoy your food the most!