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Author Notes: A few years ago, my husband and I traipsed over to my sister's house for happy hour. It was a Saturday evening when everyone should have been in a good mood but just the opposite was true. The day had been a long one, the kids were, well being kids, and cranky toddlers at that. Someone said this isn't happy hour, it's "krappy" hour. And thus our tradition of "krappy hour" began. As our sharing of this tradition expanded outside of the family, I've come to rely on two main recipes that came from watching Jacques Pepin and Ina Garten. This recipe is a riff on a ham and cheese appetizer from Ina. That recipe is delicious, but I prefer vegetarian appetizers. This one is perfect: super flavorful with enough umph to keep you standing no matter what the cocktail is you're drinking. And no one stays in a bad mood after eating it.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 20 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed but cold
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Crushed red pepper
- 6 slices Provolone cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Halve the tomatoes and put in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the thyme, some salt and pepper. Stir to coat evenly and arrange in a single layer in a glass or ceramic baking dish just large enough to hold the tomatoes. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until all of the juices from the tomatoes have evaporated.
- Put the garlic in a baking dish just large enough to hold the cloves snugly a single layer. Pour the olive oil over the cloves and bake until the cloves turn a golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- Transfer the garlic to a small food processor or blender. Add the pine nuts and puree. With the machine running, add the remaining olive oil slowly until a smooth paste forms. Stop adding oil when it is the thickness of peanut butter. You may not need all the oil.
- Increase the oven to 425°F.
- Take the puff pastry out of the fridge and place on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Roll out to 10x12-inch rectangle. Transfer to a baking sheet. Roll out the second sheet to the same size and set aside.
- Spread the garlic mixture over the top of the puff pastry sheet on the baking sheet, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges. Arrange the tomatoes over the garlic. Sprinkle the crushed red pepper around the tomatoes. Arrange the Provolone over the top.
- Brush the egg along the border of the puff pastry. Arrange the second puff pastry sheet over the top and crimp the edges together with a fork. Brush the entire top sheet with the egg wash and cut a few slits on the top to release the steam (at this point it can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 hours before baking).
- Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and then cut into 2-inch squares for appetizers or into quarters as a main course.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Appetizer to Share with Friends
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