The second of this month's recipes for Barefoot Bloggers was Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts, chosen by Anne of Anne Strawberry.
I almost made this recipe "as written," but my practical side took over, so I used some grape tomatoes I had on hand instead of buying yucky winter tomatoes. And as a concession to the smaller tomatoes, I also cut out the puff pastry with a biscuit cutter to make them pick-up party size. As far as those changes go, everything was a success. The grape tomatoes tasted tomato-y and the size was perfect for pass-around hors d'oeuvres. Score one for practical adaptations!
At the risk of being branded as a less-than-loyal Barefoot Contessa fan though, I really have to say that . . . while these were good, and certainly better than most hors d'oeuvres at fancy parties . . . they just didn't do it for me. Even my husband, who is usually easier to please with food than I am, thought they needed something more. I thought they might need something less. Although all the component parts were tasty in their own right, together they somehow missed. No flavor sensation. My taste buds were working overtime to process herbed goat cheese AND Parmesan cheese AND caramelized onions and garlic AND tomatoes AND basil. I love layers of flavor, but this combination just didn't come together for the finish.
Would I make these again? Yes. I loved the bite-size puff pasty idea and the cheese, tomato, basil combo. Next time I'll try mixing it up a little to find the combo that makes my taste buds dance. How about tomato, feta and basil? Or tomato, feta and kalamata olives? Or tomato, basil and Parmesan? Or caramelized onions, Parmesan and rosemary? Or herb goat cheese, tomatoes, basil and bacon? Best of all, I can't wait until the real summer tomatoes arrive to crank up the flavor. But I doubt I will be making the recipe exactly as written again! I need more harmony in my life than these discordant flavors could deliver.
Definitely do try the puff pastry cut into bite-size circles when you need an impressive party food, and follow Ina's recipe guidelines for preparing the puff pastry and baking too. Any flavor combo favorite you choose would be easy to make ahead and serve at room temperature. And who doesn't like that!
Thanks to Ina for the inspiration and to Anne Strawberry for choosing a recipe that made me use puff pastry and made me think!