And today, I’d like to invite you to hop on over to NPR.org for my new Kitchen Window column! What you will find this time is a recipe for an Artichoke and Goat-Cheese Mille-Feuille — a tasty, fun-to-make and elegant starter for your next dinner party…
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- 4 fresh globe artichokes (look for firm artichokes that feel heavy for their size, evenly colored and free of blemishes, with their leaves tightly closed) (see note)
- the juice from half a lemon
- 2.5 ounces fresh goat cheese
- one sheet of puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- olive oil
- fleur de sel or kosher salt
- Fill a bowl with enough water to cover the artichoke hearts, pour in the lemon juice and set aside. For each artichoke, snap off the bottom stem and then trim the tough leaves at the base and the tops of the leaves at the artichoke's tip, roughly one-third. Remove the rest of the leaves carefully until you reach the choke, a dome of inedible fibers that protect the artichoke heart. Scrape it out with a melon baller or a spoon, taking care not to damage the heart underneath. Place the heart in the bowl of lemon water to prevent it from browning while you work on the rest of the artichokes.
- Bring salted water (enough to cover the artichoke hearts) to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the artichoke hearts, bring back to a boil and cook for eight minutes. Drain and let cool.
- Place the artichoke hearts, the fresh goat cheese and two teaspoons of olive oil in a food processor and pulse until combined but still slightly chunky. (This can also be done by hand with a fork.) Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Draw a 1.5'' x 4'' rectangle on a sheet of paper and cut it out. On a floured surface, gently roll the sheet of puff pastry to 10" x 11" or 12" rectangle. Use the paper rectangle as a guide to cut out 12 equal pastry rectangles with a sharp knife.
- Transfer the pastry rectangles onto the cookie sheet, leaving them a little room to expand. Prick the rectangles with the tines of a fork (to prevent the dough from rising too much as it bakes), brush the rectangles with olive oil, and sprinkle lightly with thyme and fleur de sel. Put into the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes, until puffy and golden. Turn out on a rack to cool.
- Put two rectangles of pastry on a work surface. Spread each of them with a rounded tablespoon of filling, working carefully so as not to break or damage the pastry. Put them one on top of the other, top with a third rectangle and set aside. Repeat with the remaining rectangles and filling.
- Serve immediately, with a few plum tomatoes (stem-on for a prettier effect) and a drizzle of vinaigrette.
The intensity of taste in fresh artichokes is incomparable. But if they are hard to come by, you can substitute frozen artichoke hearts (these are usually sold uncooked and should be boiled just like fresh artichoke hearts), or marinated artichoke hearts from a jar (these are already cooked, simply drain and pat them dry).