Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sardine tarts

Given that we usually pig out on the weekends with friends, weeknight meals are light and simple affairs for us (at least we try to keep it that way). After a long day at work, I don't fancy labouring over dinner as well. As such, our kitchen is well-stocked with items that are quick to put together - a hefty assortment of fresh veggies and fruit, eggs, canned items such as olives, fishes, chickpeas & black beans, pasta, frozen puff pastry sheets and a lovely mix of leftover cheeses. These have become pantry staples from which I know I can whip something tasty up in less than 30 minutes.

I am especially partial to puffed pastry - it is so versatile and makes everything taste better (as all things with butter do..naturellement). Even with these delightfully slick canned sardines. I adore the oily fishiness of sardines, but for people who don't, the soft onion base does help to cut it a bit. You can make a big tart for sharing, but I am smitten with these pretty miniature versions - they fit so neatly on to a plate!

These golden crusty tarts only take 10 minutes of prep time and another 20 minutes in the oven. Bon appetit!

Sardine tarts for two (or perhaps one)

You will need:

1 frozen puff pastry sheet
1 can of sardines in olive oil
Half of a large onion, diced / sliced (however you want it)
A tbsp or two of cream
Thyme (a sprig or two)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Butter & olive oil for frying the onions
1 beaten egg for glazing puff pastry sheet

Preheat the oven to 220degC (as per the instructions for the puff pastry sheets). Take out puff pastry sheets from freezer and let thaw.
Onion Base:

Drizzle olive oil and melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Sautee the onions until soft and translucent. Add in thyme and fry for a couple more minutes; season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat (if throwing in sprigs, remember to take out sprigs before laying on puff pastry). Let cool completely before adding cream. Mix well.
Assembling the tarts

Cut thawed puff pastry sheets into desired size - I cut mine into 4 squares exactly. Using a knife, lightly trace a 1cm border around each section to allow the edges to puff up. Lay the sautéed onions in the centre square you just traced out. Cut each sardine into half lengthwise and layer on top of the onions. Sprinkle a bit more salt and pepper to taste.
Glaze the borders of the puff pastry sections with the beaten egg. Place tarts in the oven and bake until the edges are puffed and golden, ~ 20 minutes.

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