Easy but impressive appetizer: Savory Italian-inspired tarts
There are so many ingredients we can put on our tarts, but this recipe combines some of my favorite flavors in one big bite — savory mini tarts with an Italian flair.
These puff pastry tarts make great appetizers. Not only are they very impressive to look at, but they are also loaded with flavor. The cream of Parmesan goes so well with the toasted pancetta and the asparagus that the three ingredients together create a perfect bite.
I usually go for very simple preparations of food. I would say that this is simple, just a little elaborate in preparing the ingredients. Sometimes a little effort and patience pay off, because really, I would bet that everyone will love these.
Mini puff pastry tarts with asparagus, pancetta and cream of Parmesan recipe
- 12 asparagus spears
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- 1 ounce butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- Nutmeg, grated
- 1 store-bought puff pastry
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Shaving Parmesan cheese
- 7 fresh mint leaves or other herbs for garnish (optional)
- In a small pot over high heat, bring salted water to a boil.
- While waiting for the water to boil, prepare a bowl of water with a lot of ice for the ice bath to blanch the asparagus.
- When the water is boiling, cook the asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness.
- Remove the asparagus from the boiling water, and place them in the ice bath. When completely cool, chop them, and then set them aside.
- In a small, dry saucepan over medium heat, toast the pancetta. Transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Set aside.
- To prepare the cream of Parmesan, in a small saucepan over low-medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the flour, and mix until you make a roux.
- Add the milk gradually, mixing continuously. Sprinkle in the nutmeg and salt.
- When the mixture has attained a creamy consistency, add the Parmesan. Mix for 1 minute, and then turn off the heat. Set aside.
- Using a food shaper or the mouth of a drinking glass, cut the puff pastry into 7 (or more) circular shapes.
- Place the round puff pastries onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- Spoon some cream of Parmesan into the middles of the round puff pastries. Add some asparagus and pancetta on top. Leave the sides of the puff pastries empty.
- In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolk to serve as the egg wash. Brush the egg wash all around the edges of the puff pastries.
- Bake the tarts in the oven, preheated to 350 degrees F, on the middle rack for 15 minutes.
- When the tarts are ready to be served, drizzle them with extra-virgin olive oil, and then garnish with the Parmesan shavings and the fresh mint, if using.