Smoked Salmon, Fennel and Herbed Mascarpone Tart
This elegant puff pastry tart is flaky, savory and comes together in a snap once you’ve defrosted the dough. Using all-butter puff pastry gives you the richest flavor; it’s worth seeking out. The smoked salmon makes a sophisticated and pretty topping here, but you can leave it off all or part of the tart if you’ve got vegetarians at the table. Just double up on the capers to compensate for the missing saltiness.
- Serves: 8 persons
- 1large fennel bulb (or 2 small ones)
- 1to 2 lemons
- 2teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¾teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, more as needed
- 1cup mascarpone
- 2tablespoons chopped fresh chives, finely chopped
- 2tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more sprigs for garnish
- 1large egg, lightly beaten
- All-purpose flour, for dusting the work surface
- 1sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen (about 14 ounces)
- 4ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
- 2tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
Step 1Trim the fennel. Halve the fennel top to bottom, then use a paring knife to cut out the thick core in the center. Remove the tough outer layer. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice the fennel horizontally as thinly as possible. You should have about 3 to 3 1/2 cups.
Step 2Grate 1 1/2 teaspoon zest from the lemon, then squeeze out 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, keeping zest and juice separate.
Step 3In a mixing bowl, toss together fennel slices, lemon juice, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. Let sit for 20 minutes to soften fennel.
Step 4Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Step 5In another medium mixing bowl, use a rubber spatula to mix together the mascarpone, herbs, egg, lemon zest, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined.
Step 6On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to form a 13-by-11-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score a 1/2-inch border around the edges of the puff pastry.
Step 7Spread mascarpone mixture evenly inside the scored border. Drain the excess liquid from the fennel and arrange the slices in an even layer on top of the mascarpone.
Step 8Bake until the pastry is puffed and golden, 22 to 28 minutes. Let tart cool on its baking sheet on a rack for at least 15 minutes before serving (or up to 4 hours).
Step 9To serve, cut tart into pieces. Drape each with a slice of smoked salmon, sprinkle with a little lemon juice, and garnish with capers, dill and black pepper.