Puff Pastry Ricotta & Tomato Tart and Cucumber, Feta & Red Onion Salad

Friends of mine are house sitting for a neighbor who has a great vegetable garden.  As a thank you, they can have all the veggies they want and were encouraged to share with friends.  And since I’m such a good friend 😉 I benefited from their house sitting gig!

I made a tomato and cucumber salad the first week, and still had an abundance of tomatoes and two large cucumbers to eat up.  I came across this puff pastry tart recipe and decided to try it out with some alterations (the original called for cream cheese and sour cream-two of my least favorite foods).  The recipe also calls for lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, which gives the tart a light, refreshing taste, but feel free to omit if you’re not a fan of lemon.  The tart makes for a great lunch or appetizer and the cucumber salad compliments it well.  Nothing tastes better than locally grown produce so hopefully you get to enjoy some before summer is over!photo 5
photo 1Ingredients
For the tart:
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 of a 17-ounce package), thawedAll-purpose flour, for dusting
8 ounces Part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground italian herb mix
Balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil, cut into thin strips
12 ounces tomatoes, halved or sliced depending on size

For the salad:photo 2
4-5 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1-2 large cucumbers, cut into thin to medium slices then halved
1/2 red onion, sliced thin

photo 1 (2)

My grandmother’s rolling pin 🙂

Preheat oven to 400º F.  Unfold the puff pastry onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper and roll out (the best you can) into a 9-by-11 inch rectangle.  Using a pairing knife, score 1/2 inch from the edge of the pastry, all the way around.  Slide the parchment paper and pastry onto a baking sheet.  Poke the middle all over with a fork and then bake until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
In the meantime, combine the ricotta cheese, photo 2 (2)lemon zest, and freshly ground Italian herbs (to taste) in a large bowl.  Spread evenly over the cooled puff pastry.  Arrange the tomatoes on top and return to the oven to bake at 350º F for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove and season with salt and pepper, fresh basil and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar.  photo 4

For the salad, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.

 

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