It has been a hot, dry couple of months here in Umbria, and although I swore that I wouldn’t complain about the heat when we arrived in April to very cool temperatures, I honestly am a little tired of sweating. We have only had a little rain in weeks, and in fact, it has been so dry that our well has run dry. Our gorgeous green lawn has turned brown, and the grass looks more like hay than grass should. We are lucky in that our property sits up on a hill, so we always seem to have a bit of a breeze. It is a very warm breeze, but at least the air is moving. When we go down the hill to the town of Marsciano which sits in the valley, the heat is truly oppressive.
When it is this hot, I often spend my afternoons sitting out in the shade of my terrace trying to enjoy whatever breeze there is and keep busy by doing some needlepoint and watching my chickens free range. The poor chickens walk around with their mouths open in this heat, and have learned to run up to the terrace as soon as I let them out of their coop as I keep a bowl of ice water sitting there for them to enjoy. On days like this, I try very hard not to spend too much time in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove by planning quick, easy meals that require little cooking. When temperatures soar, we are also just not that hungry, so I take advantage of the fresh vegetables in our garden, and I make lots of big salads, or prepare the vegetables early in the morning to enjoy later in the day.
This tart is a great example of an easy, delicious treat that I can pull together quickly that requires little cooking. I use sheets of puff pastry as the base, and then layer on whatever toppings I have on hand. For this tart, I partially cook the sheet of puff pastry, then I scatter on some chopped dried figs with some crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and finish baking it until it is golden brown and puffy. This melts the cheese and warms the figs, creating a delicious base for the final ingredients. Once out of the oven I layer on some torn pieces of prosciutto, and salad greens. Arugula is usually my green of choice, but I do use whatever is growing in my garden such as watercress. If fresh figs are in season, they are delicious used in place of the dried figs. You can also use some chopped walnuts placed on top of the cheese and figs for added texture if you like. Although I enjoy this recipe as a light dinner option, it is also fantastic cut into smaller pieces to enjoy with a glass of wine as an appetizer.
Deborah Mele 2017
- 1 Sheet Puff Pastry Dough, Defrosted If Frozen
- Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Gorgonzola Dolce Cheese
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Dried Figs
- 3-4 Slices Prosciutto di Parma, Torn Into Smaller Pieces
- Peppery Salad Greens
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with silicon pad or parchment paper, and lay your puff pastry sheet on top.
- Brush the edges with olive oil, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle blue cheese and chopped figs evenly on pastry dough, leaving a 1-inch rim all around.
- Bake another 10 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.
- Evenly distribute prosciutto and salad greens over the puff pastry.
- Cut in smaller pieces and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 square
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 504Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 1266mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 16g