Mei making dumplings

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Irene making dumplings
All-The-Stuff Savory Tart
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There's nothing like a dinner party-worthy showstopper of a recipe that also uses up any odds and ends you've got in the fridge. This savory puff pastry tart is my favorite - keep a box of puff pastry in the freezer at all times, and you can put together an impressive dish in about half an hour. 

The tart pictured above has thinly sliced potatoes and fennel, dots of the random cheese I found in the fridge (I have no idea what it is, to be honest) and slices of hard salami, all layered over a smear of Herby Green Sauce. So versatile - you could do just veggies and keep it vegan, or use a cheese spread for the base to make it more pizza-like. And so fancy-looking, if I do say so myself. 

You can put pretty much any veggie on here, with the following adjustments:

  • Long-Cooking Vegetables, like Root Veggies and Winter Squashes: Most can just be sliced thinly, but if you want to make sure they are tender, you could either parboil them or roast them on their own for a bit before adding them to the tart. I didn't precook the potatoes above but sliced them super thin with a mandoline and they were tender when the tart was done
  • Medium-Cooking Vegetables, like Stalks and Stems and Flowers: same as above - if you make your broccoli florets tiny and don't mind them possibly being a little crunchy, don't precook. Anything from Brussels sprouts to asparagus to onions can be sliced thinly and you should be good. I used a mandoline on the fennel and they turned out great.
  • Veggies That Are Good Raw: You could throw tomatoes on at the beginning if you want them flavorful and roasted, or add them at the end if you've got fresh summer tomatoes. Lighter leaves can be tossed on after cooking, heartier greens could be massaged with a bit of oil and cooked with the tart or tossed on towards the end. Woody herbs like thyme and rosemary can be laid on top at the beginning of cooking, leafy herbs like basil or mint can go on at the end. 

Just keep in mind that the tart will take 15 to 20-ish minutes to cook, so think about how long you want each of your ingredients to be in the oven.

The Rough Recipe

This is doable in about 35 minutes, with roughly 5 minutes of combing the fridge, 10 minutes of assembly and 20 minutes of cooking. I've split this between myself and my husband and daughter for a full dinner (we piled on a lot of veggies so it felt like a main and a side), but could serve 6 as an appetizer. 

Here's what you'll need:

  • A sheet of puff pastry, defrosted but still cool
  • A rimmed baking sheet/sheet pan fitted with parchment paper or a reusable baking mat
  • Some kind of sauce or cheese so the tart isn't too dry - Herby Green Sauce or any kind of pesto or tomato sauce or ricotta or shredded cheese
  • A few cups of anything you want to use up in the fridge! Cured meats, olives, random cheese ends, wilted veggies that have been hanging out in the crisper drawer too long. It's super forgiving. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay the tart on your parchment or mat and roll it out a bit so it's even, then use a sharp knife to cut a 'frame' about 1/2 inch in from the edge, cutting through the top of the pastry but not down to the mat. See the line below? The cut allows the 'frame' part of the pastry to puff up while the center is covered with your ingredients. I also sliced a few shallow cuts across the center part to make sure it didn't puff up too much while baking.

savory puff pastry tart

Transfer the mat to the sheet pan and layer on the rest of your ingredients (I added the cheese and salami after the above photo and moved the thyme sprigs to the top), then drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven, checking after about 15 minutes. It'll probably take about 20 minutes, you want a nice burnished golden brown crust. The 15-minute mark could be a good time to crack an egg on top or add some leafy greens or any other ingredients you want very lightly cooked. 

Let cool slightly before serving and enjoy!

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