Okay, I'm back with Episode ll of, "What the Hell Am I Going to Make For Easter". I know you've all been waiting with baited breath for the continuation of this riveting saga of food frenzy.
So I thought and thought...and thought some more, about what should be next.
Episode l was the first installment of the appetizer menu with an irresistible Hot Crab Dip. But at a gathering I always, ALWAYS like to serve two appetizers. I'm generous that way. I'm sure you are too. But really, you never want to only have one choice for your guests. They will deem you cheap and lazy. That's not a good thing.
So here it is, the easiest, most flavorable, unbelievably spectacular, Filo Tomato Tart. I am not kidding when I tell you it is EASY to make. I am not kidding when I tell you it's SPECTACULAR to eat. For the little work this appetizer involves, the paybacks are huge.
Every simpleton cook can make this. I promise. Do not be scared of Filo (phyllo) dough; it's a no-brainer in regards to this recipe.
So don't be a TART and let's START. I'm amazed at how I am able to continually amuse myself. I hope you are too.
Look at these ingredients. Everyday simple stuff: Filo dough (in every freezer section at the grocery store), unsalted butter, Parmesan cheese, red onion, Roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Let's go cook! Trust me this is better than the deviled eggs you were thinking about making.
I'm really annoyed and confused with the whole, Filo, Fillo and Phyllo renditions. This recipe calls for, "Filo". This box says, "Fillo" and "Phyllo". I have always known it as "Phyllo" but I am going to remain authentic to the recipe and go with, "Filo". Why? I'm not really sure because I find conformity a sad and pathetic trait.
Now Filo can be tricky. But in this recipe it's not! Not at all! Every box comes with about 20 sheets, so if you rip one up you can just toss it and move on. So Filo is an anomaly in the sense that you must keep it damp or it will dry out, but you can't get it wet or it will stick together...makes sense right?
So buy your Filo and leave it in the fridge for 24 hours to thaw out completely. When you open the package you will then unroll all the sheets on a flat surface. They are VERY thin. Lay them on top of parchment paper so that they do not stick to anything and cover the top with a piece of parchment as well.
Isn't this a lovely image that looks like nothing? It's the Filo on a flat surface. Duh. So if you prep all your other ingredients first you will not have to worry about it drying out.
Hello again Budda'. You are unsalted, which always makes me sad. It's like a whole faction of your personality has been churned away. I find myself loving you only half as much as your full-salt counterpart.
Melt Budda' in a small bowl. 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick) will be just enough. This butter is going to be used to brush onto each layer of filo dough that you are going to use.
Now I had a picture of brushing the butter on, but I accidentally deleted it. Somehow I think you'll be okay without it.
So for a little direction here...you are going to lay one sheet of filo dough on top of a piece of parchment paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray. The parchment should be placed on a large cookie sheet.
Brush butter on the first sheet...
and grate some Parmesan cheese. Real Parmesan cheese. I have nothing against the green can, but there is a time and a place for everything.
Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon (seven in all) on top of the Filo. You are going to repeat the buttering and the cheesing seven times with 7 sheets of Filo dough on top of each other. One right after another. So repeat after me...Filo...Butter....Parmesan cheese. Approximately 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan on each layer. But if you're like me, you'll use more and deal with the guilt later.
Now grab a red onion. If your onion has a little green protrusion coming out the top...that means he's excited to see you. "Mr. Onion, you're making me blush! Put it away! I'm a married woman, for cripes sake! The Wild Boar is going to be very upset with you."
Uh-yeah...onion didn't listen to me. The Wild Boar sliced him into 1 cup of very thinly, manicured onion pieces. That showed him.
Now add your sliced onion to the top of the seven layers of Filo. You do not have to be meticulous here. Just throw it on.
Now for the mozzarella. Does anyone know why it's Precious? Anyone? Is there no one reading this??
You will need 1 cup of mozzarella. I will not judge you if you buy the already shredded kind.
Add the mozzarella to the top of the onion in a single layer.
Now for the Roma tomatoes. They were very rambunctious and wanted to play tic-tac-toe. So I agreed, being the nice person that I am. The winner did not have to become part of this tart-scape.
Slice your tomatoes thinly, about 1/8 of an inch thick. This means, in one inch of tomato, try to get 8 slices.
Add them to cheese-onion stack, each one slightly overlapping one another.
If you have "time", you'll need to pick up some fresh "thyme" from the grocery store. Or harvest it from your own personal herb garden; if you're cool like that.
Chop it finely. This will not take much effort since the leaves are already so small, so stop complaining.
1 Tablespoon of thyme is to be sprinkled over the tomato.
Now add some salt over the tomato according to your own taste; for me that would be a lot, for others, maybe not so much.
Now, freshly ground peppa'...
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cook for 30-35 minutes until filo is golden brown.
When it comes out of the oven, the cheese will be bubbly and the tomatoes soft and crispy.
See the layers of the Filo...aren't they, well....PERFECT!
Now get your pizza cutter out and slice it up. This can be served warm or at room temperature, which makes it perfect for entertaining; especially if you have to bring an appetizer somewhere.
I promise you this tart has a great, distinctive flavor. It has great contrasting textures with the Filo and the tomato and the gooey cheese. Not to mention that we eat with our eyes first and this tart has incredible presentation.
Please add it to your Easter menu this year, you won't be disappointed.
Filo Tomato Tart
adapted from Sunset Magazine
**Cut tomatoes very thin so juice evaporates while baking, or dough will be soggy.**
7 sheets filo dough, thawed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
7 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup very thinly sliced red onion
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 Roma tomatoes, cut into 1/8-in.-thick slices
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray paper with cooking-oil spray. Lay 1 sheet filo on paper and brush lightly with a little melted butter. Sprinkle all over with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan. Repeat layering 5 more times (with filo, butter and Parmesan), pressing each sheet firmly so it sticks to sheet below. Lay the last filo sheet on top, brush with remaining melted butter, and sprinkle on remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan.
Scatter onion across filo, top with mozzarella, and arrange tomato slices in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
Bake until filo is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then serve.
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