Tomato And Basil Tarts

I can’t imagine anything that smacks you round the mouth shouting summer more than the flavours of tomato and basil.

Cherry tomatoes especially.  Tiny flaming fruits, sun blushed and glowing from the golden rays they have have absorbed over the long midsummer days.

They partner perfectly with classic Italian flavours – basil, olives, mozzarella.

As I am getting into the slow swing of things I am ever more seeking simple, relaxed cooking to fill my afternoons with.

This is one of those recipes. Easy, elegant, and exquisitely delicious.

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Ingredients for 4:

1 Pack Pre-rolled Puff Pastry – Made with butter
1 Medium Onion – Finely sliced
250g Cherry Tomatoes – Each thinly sliced (4 slices per tomato app.)
4-6 Black Olives – Stones Removed and Finely sliced
4 Basil Leaves – Torn
A Couple Teaspoons of Pesto
1 Ball of Mozzarella (Drained weight 125g) – Finely sliced
2 Cloves of Garlic – Finely diced
1 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
4 tbsp Olive Oil
Maldon Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp Full Fat Milk

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To Make:

1. Firstly, pour the olive oil into a frying pan and warm over a low heat. Then add the onions and thyme leaves and season with a little salt and pepper. Allow these to soften for about 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often. Once they have gone transparent, add the minced garlic to the pan, stir and leave for another 5 minutes. You want the mixture to be soft and translucent, but not starting to golden. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

2. Whilst the onions are softening, I place the remaining ingredients onto sheets of kitchen roll to absorb some of the moisture. Particularly the tomatoes and mozzarella. You don’t want all the moisture coming out during the cooking process, it will make your pastry bottoms soggy.

3. Place a layer of grease proof paper onto a baking sheet, lay out the pre-rolled puff pastry and cut in 4 equal slices.

4. When the onions are cooled, spoon the mixture equally onto each pastry slice and spread out into an even layer, leaving about 1 cm around the edge free. Then, on top of the onions decorate each slice with a row of tomatoes, then a row of mozzarella, repeating until you are at the 1 cm border around the edge of the pastry sheet. Brush the pastry edge with a small amount of milk.

5. Place your tarts into a preheated oven at 200C(fan oven)/400F for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is a pale gold.

6. Remove from the oven and add the slices of olives, torn basil and a little pesto to each tart.

7. Place back in the oven for another 5-8 minutes until the pastry is lovely and crisp and golden.

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Try and leave them alone for 5 minutes to cool down slightly and then tuck in.

Definitely best enjoyed hot and fresh from the oven.

An ideal quick and tasty lunch.

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