Saturday, January 2, 2016

Savory Palmiers with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Happy 2016 everyone!  I'm looking forward to another new year and lots of great recipe ideas to share with you.  What a whirlwind the end of 2015 was - - I think we have been either out of town or preparing to be out of town since Halloween - - so it really made the end of the year fly at lightening speed.  The amazingly unseasonable weather also meant we were able to be outside all the way through November and even a little of early December which was great.

Toasting them brings out
their nutty flavor. Keep an eye
on them because it is very easy
to burn them.
I am happy to be home for a while though where I can get back to my regular routine.  After all, I have a garden to plan for and lots of new recipes to try.  As always, if you have something you'd like to see me make, I'd love to hear from you!  Just leave a comment below or send me an email at

I used homemade but you
can find jars in any grocery store.
Buy ones in olive oil, they
have way more flavor!
One step outside and it doesn't take long to notice that the cold weather has indeed arrived and with it comes the need for warm and satisfying food.  This quick and easy appetizer is fun to put together and will disappear faster than you can put them on the table.  They are the perfect thing for a football party if you're looking for something a little bit fancier that you won't feel so guilty about eating (by the handful).  But honestly, I haven't met anyone who didn't love these little guys.  A warm plate of these savory palmiers and nice glass of wine in front of the fire might help you forget about the snow and ice at least for a few minutes.

Buy the goat cheese already
crumbled and it's easier
to assemble.  
This is one of my favorite "tried and true" recipes from Ina Garten.  It is one of those recipes you can adapt based on what you have on hand or what flavors you like.  It is more about learning the technique and then the sky is the limit.  Traditionally, palmiers are sweet and covered with cinnamon sugar - - think little miniature elephant ears for those of you who might have eaten those delicious carnival treats growing up.  But I like the savory version even better.  The buttery puff pastry and the tangy ingredients make it the perfect pairing for cocktails.  And since you don't need a lot of the ingredients these make for a pretty cost-effective treat as well if you want to impress without breaking the bank.  You can get double duty out of the remaining ingredients for a week night dinner without anyone being the wiser.

Fold each end halfway to the center.
Lightly flour a board or your countertop and carefully unfold one sheet of thawed puff pastry.  Roll it out lightly with a rolling pin until it is about 9.5" x 12". Keep moving it to make sure it isn't sticking.  Once its rolled out, all you need to do is add the toppings.  The only ingredient that needs a little prep are the pine nuts.  You need to toast them by putting them in a dry sauté pan for a few minutes until they start to get golden brown.  Watch them closely though because they can burn quickly.  Once you have that ready, you can being to assemble.

Then fold each side again until the folded
edges almost touch.
Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half of the pesto (being sure to get all the way to the edges), then sprinkle on half the goat cheese, half the sun-dried tomatoes and half the pine nuts.  Season with salt.  If you don't care for goat cheese, you can leave it out or replace it with feta or ricotta salata.  But it has to be a cheese that won't melt too much, which is why the goat cheese works so well.

A side view after it has been chilled
and removed from plastic wrap.
Once you have all the toppings on, you need to fold the puff pastry.  Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center.  Then fold each side again towards the center until the folded edges almost touch in the middle.  Fold one side over the other and press gently.  Wrap the roll in plastic wrap  and chill for about 45 minutes.  Repeat the same process with the second piece of puff pastry.  If you skip the step of chilling the rolls your palmiers will not bake correctly and they will be very difficult to cut, so don't try and cheat! Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and clean up your work space while you wait.

Work quickly and get them in the oven
so the pastry remains chilled.  That will
keep them from spreading too
much when they bake.
Once chilled, you can remove one of the rolls from the plastic wrap and cut little slices, about 1/4 in thick.  You might find this easier with a serrated knife. Place the cut pieces face up, about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat.  Bake for 14 minutes, until they are golden brown and delicious.

Some of the slices will spread a little more than others, but that just gives you something to taste test before you serve them to your friends and family.  They are great served warm, but also do well at room temperature which makes them a great make-ahead appetizer.  I hope you give these a try and let me know what you think. I'm looking forward to a 2016 filled with good food! Stay warm and best wishes for the New Year!

Savory Palmiers
[adapted from Barefoot Contessa]
1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1/4 cup of pesto, store bought or homemade
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Kosher salt

Golden brown and delicious and ready to be devoured! 

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