Before I start, I'd just like to apologise for the unexpected break between posts. :) I've been busier than I would have liked.
Anyway, the idea for this dish actually came from ... hmmm, I believe it was Pret a Manger? Can't really remember now, was so early in the morning. Anyway, I had the opportunity to have breakfast there with my aunt, while she was sending off her sister at Heathrow Airport. They had these things called Tomato and Mozarella Croissants (hence the name, though these aren't really crescent-shaped) which had tomato and cheese wrapped up in flaky puff pastry. Yum! I quite liked it and had some puff pastry stuck in the freezer, so I thought I might as well use it.
So here we go!
What you need:
Ready-made puff pastry, cut into 4-5 inch squares
Tomatoes, sliced (and diced, if you use big ones) - I used mini San Marzano tomatoes
Cheese of your choice - I suggest a mix of mozzarella for the stringiness and Cheddar for the flavour :D
What you do:
- Sprinkle some salt onto the tomato slices. Leave for about 5 minutes, then mop up the juices with kitchen towels. Season with more salt, if you feel its necassary. :)
- Arrange the tomato slices in the middle of the puff pastry squares.
- Top with cheese, then fold over two sides of the pastry, leaving the top and bottom open.
- Bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until pastry is puffed up and golden. Serve immediately (best), or allow to cool.
Anyway, you may find my treatment of the tomatoes a bit well, strange, but believe me, I have a reason. :) See, I don't actually like fresh tomatoes very much. I find them too gooey and taste strange. To combat this, I used a type of plum tomato called the San Marzano tomato. Its not authentic, since it was grown in Britain, not Italy, but hey. Smaller carbon footprint. :)
These tomatoes are firmer and sweeter with a more prominent taste, which is exactly what I;m looking for. Perfect. I added the salt mostly to get a bit of flavouring, but also to draw the water out, to make the tomatoes even less watery. Of course, you can feel free to use whatever tomatoes you like, but you might still like to mop up the juices because you don't really want them leaking onto your lovely crisp pastry, right?
Or at least... the pastry should be nice and crisp with a proper working oven. As I've mentioned before, Brunei Hall's oven seems to be not working for the bottom heating elements, so the bottoms of my pastries were kind of soft-ish. I had to bake them for a few minutes in my toaster oven to get them crisp enough without feeling icky or burning them.
So anyway, I really liked these, actually. I had them as a packed lunch, so they were cold and not so crisp, but they were really good! The tomatoes, especially, were nice. They weren't watery at all, woohoo! They were firm with an intense flavour. Really good, and really goes well with the cheese. ;) Its sort of like a ... pizza, only the topping is on the inside and the base is as flaky as can be. :D I didn't have any, but a few snippings of fresh herbs (like my favorite, basil) probably would be an awesome addition.
I had made 4 to have over 2 days of lunch, but to my horror, someone had eaten half of my second portion (I left it in the Brunei Hall fridge). I hope the person, whoever it was, enjoyed it because thanks to him/her, I had a pitifully meagre lunch. May I take this oppurtunity to mention that stuff in the Brunei Hall student fridge is NOT a free-for-all? They actually belong to people, who expect it to be still there when they come for it. Not that I think any Brunei Hall person is reading my blog at the moment, but it can't hurt. I've had too many things disappear recently for me to ignore. It's annoying and troublesome.
Sigh. Anyway, changing th subject, don't expect a post for the next couple of weeks, as I shall be rather busy writing up my dissertation. Soon after that, I'll be going home (woohoo! well, only for a short time, but woohoo!) but you can expect another post just before I go home and perhaps during the week that I am home as well, if you're lucky. Until then, enjoy!
Quote of the day: Hunger makes you restless. You dream about food - not just any food, but perfect food, the best food, magical meals, famous and awe-inspiring, the one piece of meat, the exact taste of buttery corn, tomatoes so ripe they split and sweeten the air, beans so crisp they snap between the teeth, gravy like mother’s milk singing to your bloodstream.