Squares of this tart match well with martinis, and they also make a nice lunch or light dinner, with a salad alongside. Harissa is a North African chile paste, made with garlic, cumin, coriander, and caraway. Brands vary in heat, so you may want to add more or less, depending on which you purchase and your taste. You can substitute Aleppo pepper, or, in a pinch, cayenne (also hot, but less interesting than harissa and Aleppo).
Adapted from “A Bird in the Oven and Then Some” by Mindy Fox.
- ¾ pound carrots, peeled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups small shreds roast chicken
- Fine sea salt
- 4 teaspoons harissa, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
- 6 cured black olives, quartered lengthwise
- 1 ¼ teaspoons cumin seeds
- 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (about 1 ½ ounces)
- 1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped cilantro or parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the carrots, partially cover, and cook until just tender, 12-15 minutes, depending on the size.
Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 7 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl. Reserve the skillet.
Drain the carrots and run under cold water to cool, and then slice on a long bias into 1/16-inch-thick slices. Put half of the slices (about ¾ cup) into the bowl with the onions, and the other half into the reserved skillet. To the carrot-onion mixture, add the chicken and ¼ teaspoon salt; gently stir to combine. Add harissa to taste.
Sprinkle the ground cumin and ½ teaspoon salt over the carrots in the skillet, and then heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, to evenly distribute the spices, for 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor or a blender, add 2 tablespoons of the cream and the lemon juice and purée until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the rack on the lowest rack.
Whisk together the remaining tablespoon cream and egg yolk. On a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the puff pastry to a 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Brush with the egg wash, and then crimp the edges to form a ¼-1/3-inch border. Prick all over with a fork. Slide with the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and freeze 15 minutes.
Spread the pastry with the carrot purée in an even layer, and then freeze for 15 minutes more. Arrange the carrot-chicken mixture over the purée and sprinkle with the olives. Sprinkle the edges of the pastry with the cumin seeds.
Bake until the edges are golden and puffed, 20-25 minutes, then sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.
Let the tart cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 5 minutes more.
Let the tart cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkling with the cilantro or parsley just before serving.