These peperonata and goats cheese crossovers should taste of sunshine, so the brightest and freshest peppers and the best puff pastry you can find will be needed to do it justice. Sweet peppers, red onion, garlic, basil and goats cheese peek through the slits in the flaky golden pastry, enticing you to take a bite and delight in the sweet tastes of the Mediterranean that are hiding within.
2 tbsp olive oil
½ red onion
4 small peppers, red and yellow
1 small courgette
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
A pinch of smoked paprika
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Good quality goats cheese
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 sheet all-butter puff pastry
½ tbsp poppy seeds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 180C
If frozen, thaw the puff pastry at room temperature for 40 minutes. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Blacken the peppers over a gas flame or under a very hot grill, turning with tongs every minute or so until charred all over. Once blackened remove the peppers to a bowl, cover with cling film and set aside for a few minutes. Using your fingers, scrape off the skin and remove the seeds. Chop the flesh roughly into strips.
In a small saucepan over medium heat fry the onion in the oil until softened, then lower the head and add the garlic, courgette and chopped peppers. Cook on a low heat for approx. 5 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar and paprika and cook until sweet and caramalised. Remove from heat and mix in the nuts and the chopped basil and parsley. Season to taste and set aside to cool slightly.
Cut the sheet of puff pastry into two equal halves. Cut strips approx. 2 cm wide along either side of the pastry half, leaving a 5 cm base in the centre where you will place the peperonata filling.
Divide the peperonata mixture evenly between the two pieces of pastry and top with a generous amount of goat’s cheese.
With the right hand, bring the right strip closest to you across the filling. With the left hand cross the left-hand strip across the first strip. Continue this alternating left and right, making sure each strip is overlapping the previous opposite side to help lock it in. Do this down the length of each pastry and for both pastries.
Brush lightly with a little extra olive oil and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Place in the preheated oven for approx. 25 minutes or until the pastry is all puffed, golden and crisp.
Serve warm or cold.
Makes 2 small pastries