Roquefort cheese is blue cheese made from sheep’s milk and hails from the South of France. Its distinctive veins of green mold helps to give it a sharp taste with salty overtones. Roquefort is also delicious on top of steak, in salads and perfect with fortified wines A perfect starter, these vegetarian tartlets are delicious any time of the year! If you like this, then you may also like: Drunken Fennel; Roasted Fennel, Chili and Sweet Potato Salad; Chicken, Fennel and Lemon Fettuccine; Creamy Fennel Pasta
adapted from House and Garden magazine
1 medium onion, sliced lengthways into 8 pieces
1 small fennel, cut lengthways into 8 segments
half a lemon
250g baby spinach
100g melted butter
200g filo pastry (16 sheets)
200g Roquefort or any classic blue cheese
Preheat oven to 225c (450f). Put the onion, fennel and a squeeze of lemon juice into a large saucepan with enough boiling water to half cover. Return to a boil, reduce to a medium heat, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Drain, using a slotted spoon, leaving the water in the pan. Blanch the spinach in the still hot water for 2 minutes and drain thoroughly. Put the spinach into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the butter, stirring to coat well.
Place a sheet of filo in front of you and lightly brush with melted butter. Add another sheet of filo on top of the buttered one and lightly brush this sheet with butter. Cut the two layers in thirds using a sharp knife. Lift one of the two-layered rectangles and push it into the hollow of deep muffin tin. Place the second across and push it in. The edges will frill and stick up. Repeat. Bake 5 – 10 minutes until the top edges are crisp and golden, and bases are firm but pale. Pull apart the fennel into strips and add some onion to the filo cases. Top with spinach and cubes of the Roquefort. Bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes until the pastry is crisp, dark gold and cheese has begun to melt. Serve hot or warm.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Crispy, flaky bits of goodness with every bite!