I love appetizers. Dips, finger foods, little bites of this and that. Yum, yum, and yum. A lot of times when we go out to eat, I'll even order off the appetizer menu for my meal. And if there's a sampler? Fuggedaboutit. That's all me.
If I'm going to be honest here, I think it's the appetizers that my sister-in-law puts out that make me love family get-togethers so much. Sure, I love seeing the family, but if you're a foodie like me, you know it's all about the food! Lucky for me, she makes enough to feed an army, so I just hang out around the appetizers and graze all night.
I'm thinking about making these tasty little tartlets to take with me the next time we get together. They would be the perfect addition to any appetizer spread. The sharpness of the parmesan pairs just right with the sweetness of the peppers, and there's just a little kick from the spices. Using prepared puff pastries saves time on prep and makes these tartlets delectable little bites that will be the talk of the party!
Keep reading for the recipe.
Spinach, Bell Pepper, and Parmesan Tartlets
2 sheets thawed puff pastries
1 small red bell pepper, half diced, half julienned
2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced peppers to the butter and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the spinach to the saucepan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently until the spinach wilts.
Add the cream cheese, crushed red pepper, and salt to the saucepan and continue cooking until the cream cheese is completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 400°F.
On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out each pastry sheet to 10-by-12 inches. Cut each sheet into 30 2-inch squares, ending with a total of 60 squares (a pizza cutter works great for this). Lightly score each square about an 1/8 inch in around the edges and prick liberally with a fork. This will keep the pastry from puffing up too much during cooking.
Transfer the pastry squares to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Top each pastry square with 1/2 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture and a couple pieces of julienned bell peppers.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with additional parmesan if desired.
Makes 60 tartlets.
Tartlets can be served hot or at room temperature. Short on time? Serve the cream cheese mixture hot as a dip with chips and raw veggies. Need to prepare ahead of time? Make a day ahead and refrigerate in a plastic-wrap-lined loaf pan. When ready to serve, place onto a plate, remove the plastic wrap, and serve as a cold spread for crackers.