We are all living this crazy-busy life and sometimes making time to spend with our friends gets sent to the back burner. That had been the case for me and Tania; we kept trying to get together for months until we finally set a date that “worked” for a Saturday afternoon during Summer. Since we both like to cook, what a better way to spend time together than in the kitchen.
I thought that Tania was going to bring me ingredients to make a traditional dish from Ecuador, instead she just brought marinated chicken, homemade pesto, cheese and a store-bought puff-pastry sheet. She said “we’ll make something simple that I sometimes throw together at home when we have people over”. And with that phrase she also brought me the realization that life is simple. I must admit that I tend to over-think and over complicate things in my head before I bring them to life (I am talking about food, of course 🙂 ). With a big smile Tania brought to my kitchen that sense of “sit back and relax, everything is going to be ok” while our girls just run around chasing each other and we laughed over life/kids stories.
This simple yet delicious free-form tart came together quickly with four hands helping. Tania brought her husband’s homemade pesto and also some fresh lettuce from her own garden. We made a gorgeous fresh salad to go with the Chicken-Pesto Tart. To add a little sweetness we caramelized onions. It was a warm summer day so I made Tinto de Verano to sip while and after cooking and because dessert is just yummy we ended that afternoon with the perfect Panna Cotta with Blueberries Flambé.
So go ahead, grab your ingredients, grab a friend and let’s get cooking together!
3 Marinated chicken breasts
1/3 Cup homemade pesto (see Paul’s recipe below)
2 Puff pastry sheets
1 Cup caramelized onions (see recipe below)
2 Cups Parmesan cheese
To make about a cup of caramelized onions: slice 2 medium sweet onions, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter on a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar and a pinch of salt. Let it cook, stirring occasionally until the edges are golden brown (about 12 minutes)
Preheat your oven to 400F. Grill the chicken breast in a medium high heat grill or grilling pan until the outside is crispy and the inside temperature reaches 165F. Let it rest for 5 minutes and cut into bite size pieces.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the puff pastry sheets on top and poke with a fork few times, to avoid them puffing while baking.
Divide the pesto in half and top each pastry sheet with pesto, spreading it all over with a spatula or butter knife. Add the caramelized onions first then the chicken. Divide the cheese in half and top each tart with cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and the pastry is cooked through, about 15 minutes, the top should be golden and crispy.
Let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!