Recipe: Sweet roasted pepper tartlets
Spicy eggplant and sweet peppers are tossed together and piled into toasted poppy seed pastry to make a colourful first course or a side dish to accompany fish or meat. Prepare the components ahead of time and simply assemble just before serving. For a spicier filling, season the vegetables with more chili oil to your liking.
- 6 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1-1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- 1/2 recipe ricotta filling and dip (see page 3)
- 1 recipe chili-grilled eggplant and sweet roasted peppers, plus the balsamic julienned roasted peppers from the same recipe (see page 2)
1 Preheat the oven to 350F. Put 4-inch tartlet pans on a baking sheet. Combine the poppy seeds, flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs; this can also be done by pulsing ingredients in a food processor as well.
2 Stir in the egg and cold water. Put the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, knead it a couple of times, then form it into a flat disc.
3 Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll one piece of the dough out with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough to fit 2 of the tartlet pans. Gently press the dough into each pan and trim the pastry flush with the pans to create a neat appearance. Roll the other half of the dough and line the remaining tartlet pans.
4 Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake until light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Put the tartlets on a cooling rack and let cool before removing the baked crusts from each pan.
5 Put each tartlet shell on an individual serving plate. Spoon 2 or 3 tablespoons of the Ricotta Filling into the center of each shell. Top with 1/3 cup fo Chili-Grilled Eggplant and Sweet Roasted Peppers, mounding it slightly. Garnish with balsamic julienned roasted peppers.
6 Serve the tartlets at room temperature or, if desired, carefully place them on a baking sheet for warming. Heat in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes.
The dough can be made ahead of time. To store, flatten it into a disc and wrap the dough in plastic film. Refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
Makes 4 servings.
Keep this healthful dip or filling as a household staple. Chili oil, cumin and garlic are natural complements to grilled eggplant and sweet roasted peppers. If you'd like an extra kick, add a little more chili oil. Serve as a dip or as a filling for the Chili-Grilled Eggplant and Sweet Roasted Peppers Tartlets in Poppy Seed Shells (see page 1).
- 1 pound eggplant (about 2 medium)
- ¼ cup chili oil
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 medium red bell pepper (see Note)
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper (see Note)
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Preheat the grill to medium. Slice the eggplant into ¼-inch-thick slices and put the slices on a baking sheet. Stir the chili oil and the ¼ cup olive oil together in a small bowl. Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the oil mixture and dust with a little ground cumin and salt.
2 Heat the grill. Place the eggplant and peppers on the grill. Roast the eggplant until soft and well marked by the grill, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill to cool. Roast the peppers until black on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes.
3 Remove from the grill and let cool. Peel the black skin off the peppers and then stem, derib, and take out the seeds. Put the eggplant slices, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, half of each of the roasted peppers, garlic, and a little salt in the bowl of a food processor.
4 Pulse until chunky, 5 to 10 seconds. Remove from the bowl and season with more salt, if desired. Cut the remaining roasted peppers into julienne strips and toss with the balsamic vinegar. Garnish the eggplant mixture with the julienned balsamic peppers. Store in the refrigerator covered for up to 1 week.
Purchased jarred or canned roasted red and yellow peppers can be used to save time.
Makes 1 ½ cups
This filling and dip can be used in many of your favorite recipes, including lasagna, stuffed shells, or even stuffed chicken breast. For a creamier version, use whole-milk ricotta cheese and heavy (whipping) cream. Add additional lemon and garlic for a zestier-flavored cool dip. Serve on crackers, with crudités, or inside the Chili-Grilled Eggplant and Sweet Roasted Pepper Tartlets in Poppy Seed Shells (see Page 1).
- 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablesppon whole milk
- 1 tablesppon toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Put all the ingredients, except the sesame seeds, in a small bowl and stir well to combine. Spoon into a serving dish and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.
Prepare the filling up to 4 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Stir well and serve chilled or at room temperature.
Makes 1 cup.
Excerpted from Savory Baking: Warm and Inspiring Recipes for Crisp, Crumbly and Flaky Pastries. Published by Chronicle Books. Copyright © 2009 by Mary Cech. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Chronicle Books.