Rainy early spring days (you know the chilly, wet ones – snow still on the ground?) are more synonymous with soup, but the other day I tried something a different. I have had this recipe from Emily Bites for Caprese Tarts in my pile for over a month, waiting for a day when I had all the necessary ingredients and time to make it. Finally, the stars had aligned and I got cookin’.
The crust is made from pre-made, frozen puff pastry. I think of puff pastry as fancy and delicate – a lot of trouble to go to for a simple lunch. But, I swear there is no trouble in making this, only happiness for your mouth. You will also need a clove of garlic, tomatoes (grape or cherry tomatoes are a good size for this, though roma would work well also), olive oil, reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. That’s it!
You can’t make this recipe on the spur of the moment because you need to thaw the puff pastry. Once it is thawed, use a rolling pin to roll it out to 10″x14″. I actually lined my pan with parchment and rolled it right on that to minimize mess. Emily recommends storing the puff pastry in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the tarts – I did not, but I might if my kitchen was warmer (remember, cold chilly day? – I did move it to the furthest spot away from my oven while it was heating up). Preheat your oven to 400. Put 2 tsp of olive oil in a skillet with 1 clove of minced garlic – cook until the garlic is fragrant (about 1 minute). I then transferred my garlic olive oil to a small bowl. Thinly slice your tomatoes and fresh basil and get ready to make your tarts.
Cut the puff pastry into 12 even pieces and separate them a little bit on your baking sheet. Brush each piece with the garlic olive oil – I found that I had to add a little extra oil to my mixture, just for ease of brushing, but then had a TON left over. Make sure that you get garlic bits on each pastry piece as you’ll want that flavor. Top with a pinch of shredded mozzarella, then add sliced tomato and fresh basil. Now Emily recommends putting the pastry back in the fridge so that they are completely chilled when going into the oven – I skipped this step since I was hungry and, well, I don’t remember reading it. Oh well. Cook for 15-20 minutes until pastry is golden and cheese is melted.
I remember thinking as I put these in the oven that, next time, I might add a little oregano or use fresh mozzarella (I am a cheese lover and sometimes the reduced fat cheese doesn’t quite do it for me – I find the splurge on regular cheese well worth it). I couldn’t wait to sample one of these tarts when they came out of the oven – they looked delicious. Adding a bit of fresh oregano might be a fun experiment – but the fresh garlic, tomato, and basil made them flavorful as is. It was WAY too easy to eat three of these (that’s 9PPV total for all you Weight Watchers). Next time I would probably have only two and enjoy a couple of slices of reduced sodium ham or a boiled egg on the side for some protein. I even found these enjoyable at room temperature later for dinner.