Vegetable NapoleonsPosted by Janet DeGras
“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” ~ Anais Nin, French born American author (1903 – 1977).
Aren’t layers beautiful?
We just had to have something special for dinner tonight. Something beautiful. Something we wouldn’t eat on an ordinary night. Something uncomplicated, but also unique .
As it happened, we had a single sheet of puff pastry in the freezer leftover from the winter holidays, so it seemed logical to use it up. I’m sure you’re feeling very sorry for us, but somebody had to do it, right?
This dish is delightful as a main dish as written, or cut the puff pastry rectangles into smaller pieces to use as a side dish. We served ours with tender-crisp steamed sugar snap peas on the side and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon wine.
The Balsamic Vinegar Sauce can be prepared up to a few days ahead of time. A flavorful hummus can purchased already prepared, or make it homemade from one of the recipes in the Mosaic Meals cookbook on pages 104 and 105 .
Time: 40 minutes
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
3 cups whole Swiss chard or spinach leaves
¾ cup hummus (room temperature)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar sauce (see below)
Preheat oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay the sheet of puff pastry out on a piece of parchment paper and cut into thirds lengthwise, then cut into thirds in the opposite directions so that you end up with nine rectangles. It is not necessary to space the pieces once cut. Bake in the 400° F oven for 15 minutes, until puffed and brown.
Meanwhile, sauté the onion in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the onion becomes soft, add the red bell pepper and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add the zucchini and continue cooking until the onion begins to brown. Toss in the chard or spinach leaves, cover the pan, and remove from heat. Allow the vegetables to rest for 5 more minutes, so that the chard (or spinach) softens.
For each serving, layer rectangle of baked puff pastry spread with 2 tablespoons of hummus and a spoonful of vegetables. Repeat for another layer, then top with another rectangle of puff pastry. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar sauce. Serve immediately.
Balsamic Vinegar Sauce
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
Stir together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow to boil gently until the mixture has reduced in half, stirring frequently – roughly 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. If preparing ahead of time, pour into a tightly covered jar and refrigerate until ready to use.