Saturday Luncheon: Caramelized Fennel, Fig, and Prosciutto Tart

Today I finally made it out to the Athens Farmers’ Market before it closed, and I had the pleasure of finding some really beautiful produce.  I was particularly enticed by the figs that several farms presented, and I couldn’t resist picking some up.  I was so excited by these figs, that I felt compelled to use them today.  I had fantasies of fig preserves, but a pint just won’t get the job done for that.  I have also been itching to use the puff pastry taking up space in my freezer, so I started thinking about what sort of tart I could make with the figs.  This recipe is what I came up with.  I served the tart warm over a bed of baby arugula drizzled with a honey-balsamic vinaigrette.  It was delicious – sweet, salty, toothsome.

Caramelized Fennel, Fig, and Prosciutto Tart

 

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 2 bulbs fennel
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 10-12 figs, sliced
  • 12 oz. prosciutto
  • 2 T pine nuts
  • honey, for drizzling
  • sea salt and fresh-ground pepper
  • 4 C baby arugula
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Prep the pastry
Thaw your puff pastry dough, and meanwhile preheat your oven at 350º.  When the pastry is thawed, trim it to make a rough circle about 8 or 9 inches wide.  Fold the edges in around the tart crust forming a lip about a half inch wide.  Dock the tart (prick it with a fork) everywhere but the rim.  I like to bake the crust for about 10 minutes before I add the filling.
Prepare the filling
Fennel, prepped for the pan

Fennel, prepped for the pan

Trim the tops from the fennel, reserving the fronds, and cut off the root ends.  Cut the bulbs in half, then
core the fennel by cutting a triangle out of the root ends.  Slice the fennel into pieces about a half inch wide or a little smaller.  In a large saute pan or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the fennel and season it with salt and pepper.  Let the fennel cook slowly for 10-15 minutes, until it has taken on a golden brown color and is fork tender.  When the fennel is nearly there, chop the rosemary and the prosciutto and add it to the pan to brown.  Stir occasionally.  When the prosciutto has cooked through and is fragrant, remove the pan from heat.  Pour the fennel mixture into the tart crust, and spread it out evenly.  Lay slices of the figs in circles around the tart, and sprinkle the pine nuts over.  Drizzle the entire tart with honey.  Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350º, increasing the heat to 425º for the last five minutes.
The tart, ready for the oven

The tart, ready for the oven

Plating the tart
In a bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, olive oil, garlic, and some salt and pepper.  Remove the tart from the oven and let it rest for a minute.  Meanwhile, put a bed of a cup of arugula on each plate.  Chop the reserved fennel fronds, and sprinkle a scant tablespoon over each bed of arugula.  Drizzle the honey balsamic vinaigrette over the arugula.  Slice the tart into quarters, and top each bed of arugula with a slice of the tart.  Garnish with prosciutto curls, roasted figs, and sprigs of rosemary.  
Serves 4 for a lovely lunch.
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5 thoughts on “Saturday Luncheon: Caramelized Fennel, Fig, and Prosciutto Tart

  1. Yum! That looks and sounds so good… I have yet to do anything with fennel myself… Its a bit intimidating to me but i see a lot of cooks use it… I’ll have to jump on the bandwagon one day.

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