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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Random Food Fridays - Pesto Potato Puffs

 Another magic ingredient - PUFF PASTRY.

Being a home baker, I thought that I should one day try to make puff pastry or croissants myself, but it just seemed like such an undertaking. All that rolling and butter, rolling and butter. I never got around to trying it. 

Then came Food Network and Cooking Channel, and I noticed something important - even fancy, well-trained chefs use frozen puff pastry! Who knew! 

 I had a dish something like this at an Italian restaurant on the boardwalk in Ocean City MD. It was an unexpectedly delicious side dish to some fairly mediocre crab cakes. Really, this potato dish was the best thing I ate that night. When I saw frozen puff pastry at Trader Joe's, I decided to try to create my own version of their dish. Rather than seeking and chopping fresh herbs, I simply broke a hunk of pesto off one of my frozen slabs and used that for a lovely, garlicky flavor. I used Yukon Gold potatoes from the farmer's market. They were lovely and creamy. I boiled them in their jackets and halved them and pressed them through a ricer, cut side first. There was no need to peel them. When my potatoes were in a nice fluffy mound, I stirred in some butter, the pesto, some Parmesan cheese and half and half.
I used an ice cream scoop to load my pastry squares and baked them for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. I also brushed everything with melted butter and sprinkled a little extra Parm. Yum!

I've pretty much given you the instructions, but here are the proportions I used:

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry
6 potatoes
2 tbsp. pesto
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup half and half
salt and pepper
butter for brushing
a little extra Parm for sprinkling

This makes 8 squares. You can save half the potatoes and one puff pastry sheet for another meal, but they are very good reheated in the toaster oven.

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