When a trio of food bloggers (two in Finland and one in the U.S.) posted their own renditions of a baked feta and tomato pasta a few years ago, the recipes became a viral sensation. The concept was simple: a block of feta bakes with cherry tomatoes until both become meltingly tender then combine in an easy sauce for pasta. After the video’s millions of views around the globe, one might think that the idea of baking tomato and feta together had been something of a revolutionary concept. Well, not quite. But maybe the combo of salty feta with juicy oven-roasted tomatoes finally started to receive the recognition it deserves.
This easy tart is a case in point. Sliced feta softens and mellows in the oven; fresh tomatoes (especially ripe ones) become tender and juicy. Together they make for an unbeatable topping for crisp and buttery puff pastry toasts. Use the best tomatoes you can find, combining them in an assortment of colors and varieties. And don’t skimp on the last-minute sprinkling of summer herbs. Fresh oregano leaves and thyme springs are called for here, but basil, marjoram or chervil would all work well in their place.
Tomato, Feta & Herb Pastry Toast
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (about 14 oz./440 g), thawed
- 1 cup (6 oz/185 g) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 small ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 6 oz (185 g) feta cheese, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbs. fresh oregano leaves
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into an 11-inch square. Trim the edges (a pizza wheel and a ruler work well to cut puff pastry). Cut the pastry into 4 equal squares or 6 rectangles. Using a small, sharp knife, cut a line around each piece of pastry about 1/2 inch from the edge. Do not cut all the way through; you just want to create a ridge when the pastry is baked. Using a fork, prick the pastry inside the line all over. Arrange the pastry pieces on the prepared baking sheet. Arrange the cherry tomatoes, sliced tomatoes and feta cheese evenly over the puff pastry pieces, dividing them evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
Bake until the pastry is crisped, puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack and let cool. Sprinkle with the oregano and garnish with the thyme sprigs. Serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Adapted from Newlywed Entertaining (Weldon Owen, 2016).
Photographer: John Kernick