Monday, January 5, 2009
Tomato, Feta and Olive Mille Feuilles
First of all, I must apologize for my lack of posts these past few weeks. Between Venice, Paris and the South West of France I had grand plans of posting many recipes and accounts of my holiday adventures but things didn't quite happen as planned. For all of us who spend quite some time trying to get the 'perfect' food photo, we know that a lot of elements must be reunited at once to make that happen: good food of course, an idea of how the given dish will look its best, a good dose of natural light but mostly time! Not to worry though, I have now filled my culinary curiosity and have plenty to tell. I am now back, ready to start the new year with many more recipes!
This first recipe is a fresh tomato and cheese 'mille feuilles'. My mother had picked up food at a lebanese take-out restaurant and came back with this wonderful red and white mille feuilles, as well as a myriad of stuffed vine leaves, tabouleh, hummus and other treats. And while conversations were animated around the table, the only thing I could concentrate on was how I would try I recreate the dish at home. I think my concoction does the trick! The mix of the goat and feta cheese produces a texture that is both creamy and crumbly. The end result is a beautiful, fresh, intricate dish, although it is deceptively rich so serve in small quantities.
Recipe (6 people)
5 roma tomatoes
50 grams of creamy goat cheese
50 grams of creamy feta (use a good quality feta, stored in liquid)
1/2 lemon, zested
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
10 kalamata olives, pitted
A handful of fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cut the tomatoes into paper thin slices and lay them out on paper towels to suck up excess moisture. Cover with extra paper towels and press down gently. In a bowl, mix the goat cheese, feta, olive oil and lemon zest. Mash with the back of a fork until the mixture seems smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Finely chop the olives and basil together and reserve. Line a small square dish with plastic wrap making sure to leave excess wrap on the sides of the dish (you will need it later to cover the mille feuilles). Line the bottom of the dish with a tight layer of tomato slices. You may need to cut some slices to fill in gaps. Add a second layer of tomato making sure to create an even layer. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Break half of the cheese mixture into little knobs and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Add another layer of tomatoes over top and push down using your fingers to smooth out the cheese layer underneath. Add the olive mixture and the rest of the cheese. Top with another two layers of tomatoes, pushing down on the tomatoes as you go. Add the remainder of your tomato slices making sure to gently push down. Fold in the excess plastic wrap and tightly pack. Gently weigh down with canned goods or baking beans and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Gently remove the plastic wrap and invert onto a serving platter. Cut using a serrated knife and serve with a green salad and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!