Root Vegetable "Smashies"
I found my new love. It reminds me a bit of those "bad boy" relationships from my distant past. You know the ones, right? Those love affairs where you obsess about someone, but know that if you see too much of each other it will most likely end badly. My new "bad boy"? Puff pastry.
The idea came to me after I saw mashed potato and cheese turnovers in the deli case at our local food co-op. I have tried my hand at pastry dough, and can turn out a decent crust, but honestly, I don't enjoy it. I know, puff pastry isn't a novelty, but I have actually never cooked with it before. It's too easy, I always thought; pre-rolled and ready to entice you with that beautiful golden crust. And way too fattening. But I wanted to present a delicious mash of local root veggies (about the only local produce available right now) and cheese to my family (particularly my kids) and knew that encasing them in a tasty, butter-and carb-laden shell would do the trick. The flaky, puffy outside delicately embraced the roughly mashed turnips, parsnips and potatoes inside. I seasoned the mashed veggies with a hint of garlic, onion, some tarragon, salt and pepper, and the other bad boy in my life--finishing butter. Of course butter in any form is great, but I am particularly smitten with Epicurean finishing butters (in this case Tuscan Herb butter). A small garnish of grated cheddar and I had the perfect meal in a pocket.
I call them "smashies", which is my pet name for this new love of mine. And even though my husband actually likes my heartthrob as much as I do, I don't think we'll be seeing each other that often. But you can bet when we do, I'll enjoy every moment.
Root Vegetable Smashies
w/finishing butter in puff pastry
1 large turnip
2 medium parsnips
2-4 medium potatoes
**try any combination of root veggies you like! (try sweet potato, rutabaga, carrots and celeriac)
1 small shallot, finely
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Salt and pepper
Pinch of herbs (try tarragon, marjoram, thyme or rosemary)
1 cup grated or soft cheese (try aged cheddar, goat cheese or cream cheese)
Thaw puff pastry about 45 minutes at room temperature.
Pre heat oven to 375 (or according to puff pastry package).
Peel, cube and boil the root vegetables until tender (about 15 minutes)
Heat skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil after heated and swirl.
Saute shallot until tender, about 3 minutes. Add about 1/2 cup water, root vegetables, herbs and garlic and simmer until flavors meld, about 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and finishing butter (or butter mixed with herbs.) Remove from heat.
Open sheet of puff pastry, cut into 3 sections (about 4 x 8 inches).
Place a heaping tablespoon or two of mashed veggies onto pastry, top with a sprinkle or dollop of cheese and fold pastry over.
Bake 20 minutes, or until pastry is golden and puffy on top.
Enjoy with homemade ketchup.