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Savory tart upgrades canned artichokes

Roman style artichokes referenced in this blog’s previous post are a nearly effortless appetizer baked in the oven.

An elegant upgrade that’s still semi homemade is this tart using frozen and thawed puff pastry, originally published by the Los Angeles Times. The presentation benefits from separating the artichoke bottoms from the petals, which are coaxed into pretty blossom shapes over the pastry’s surface.

The artichoke bottoms are pureed into a rich filling, and fresh herbs, garlic and lemon punch up the flavor profile. If you want even more savor, crumble on 2 ounces of feta or goat cheese or top the pastry with thin slices of fresh mozzarella before baking.

Tribune News Service photo

Carciofi Alla Romana Tart

1 1/2 pounds (drained weight) canned or jarred artichoke hearts (about 18 total)

1 package (14 ounces) all-butter puff pastry, such as Dufour, thawed if frozen

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped mint

3 almond-size garlic cloves

1/4 cup everyday olive oil

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

1 large egg

Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1 small lemon or 1/2 large lemon

Rinse the canned artichoke hearts in cold running water then drain. Arrange hearts, petal side down, on a double thick layer of paper towels and let drain for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and use a rolling pin to smooth it into a 12-by-15-inch rectangle. Transfer rectangle to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using a paring knife, lightly score a 1/2-inch border on each side of pastry. Transfer to refrigerator until ready to use.

Combine the parsley and mint in a medium bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of combined herbs and place in a small bowl; reserve in refrigerator until ready to use. Using a microplane grater, finely grate the garlic cloves into bowl of herbs. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the wine and kosher salt.

After artichokes have drained well, one by one, tip hearts over onto their sides and cut at indentation where petals meet bottoms of heart to separate them (it should be roughly at halfway point of their length). As you cut off bottoms, transfer them (you should have about 10 ounces) to a food processor or blender and flip petal clusters right side up once more to continue draining. Repeat with all artichoke hearts.

Add the egg to artichoke bottoms and process until mostly smooth. Scrape artichoke puree into bowl of herbs and stir to combine. Season with pepper.

Heat oven to 425 F. Remove pastry sheet from fridge and scrape artichoke puree in center. Using an offset spatula or dinner knife, spread puree evenly over pastry, staying within score lines. Make sure puree is an even thickness and not domed in center.

Using palm of your hand, flatten each artichoke petal cluster into a 1/2-inch-thick disc (clusters should not fall apart) then transfer each disk to pastry, arranging them evenly over puree. Drizzle clusters and puree with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season liberally with the cracked black pepper.

Bake in preheated oven, rotating pan halfway through cooking, until edges are golden brown and puffed and artichokes are lightly browned at edges of their petals, for about 30 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a rack.

Immediately zest the lemon evenly over top of tart and sprinkle with reserved chopped herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.