Tart with Cauliflower, Romanesco Sauce


Tart with Cauliflower, Romanesco Sauce

Call it a guilt free pizza. The puff pastry crust is so thin, crisp and flaky so it never feels heavy. There are two companies of puff pastry that I've been a fan off over the year. One comes in a round shape and the other as a rectangle. I always find them in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods. Both options will work well if you follow baking instructions and defrost it correctly. I am in a cauliflower kick these days. As in my previous recipe of Spaghetti with Cauliflower & Alfredo Sauce, I roasted three kinds of cauliflower (purple, green, and yellow) to golden perfection with fragrant spices- Spanish paprika, cumin, harissa spice and a sprinkle of fresh thyme and rosemary leaves. Quick tip: break cauliflower heads into really tiny florets to promote even cooking and an eye-pleasing effect. The smaller cuts won’t weigh down the tart slices when lifting up to bite into them. As a base for the tart, I made a delicious Romanesco sauce, which has a somewhat chunky appearance and texture. You mix jarred red bell pepper, parsley, garlic, olive oil, spices and sherry vinegar in a food processor to pulse all of the ingredients. If you taste the sauce on its own, it will have a slightly acidic bite. Once it is combined with the cauliflower and baked in the oven, it loses the acidity and what remains is a delicious, decadent taste. Depending on the size of your tart, break 8-10 quail eggs sporadically over it, and season them with a mildly spicy red pepper, like Aleppo, Asado or harissa spice. Finish it off in the oven until eggs are almost set but with the yolks still runny. Take the tart out from the oven and shave Parmesan cheese very generously over it while it is still hot. Scatter tiny basil leaves on top and serve hot!


Ingredients: puff pastry, cauliflower, quail eggs, parsley, almonds, slivered almonds, garlic, thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs, Spanish paprika, jarred red bell pepper, sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt.


Defrost puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 400F. Unfold pastry onto parchment paper.


Sprinkle pastry with flour and roll it quickly to smooth out the folding lines.


If you bought rectangular shaped puff pastry, you can even out the sides with a knife to make it look perfect but honestly, you don't have to!


Prick dough all over with a folk leaving 1½'' border. Transfer to a large baking sheet, cover puff pastry with another sheet of parchment paper and place another baking sheet on top. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Take out from the oven, lift up baking sheet and discard top layer of parchment paper. Let it cool.


Meanwhile, while the pastry is baking, separate cauliflower into tiny florets.


Spread them in single layer, scarcely over a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and spices.


Mix with your hands.


Lately, I like adding rosemary and thyme leaves to my vegetables for roasting, it adds another layer of flavor, but it is totally optional.


To make romanesco sauce: Add jarred bell pepper (drained, roughly chopped), parsley, almonds, olive oil, spices, sherry vinegar to food processor.


Pulse until well combined.


But sauce has to remain on a chunky side.


Smear romanesco sauce in a thin layer over puff pastry leaving 1’’ border.


Scatter roasted cauliflower on top. Break quail eggs sporadically over it; season them with pepper on top.



Bake for another 5 minutes, until eggs are set. To serve, shave cheese all over the tart and scatter basil leaves on top. Serve hot!





Bon Appétit!

Tart with Cauliflower, Romanesco Sauce

recipe details

Serves 6-8


Puff pastry (round or square), baked according to instructions

For the cauliflower

  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets (yellow, green, purple, white)
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
  • ½ teaspoon harissa spice
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
For the Romanesco sauce
  • 1 jarred red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ teaspoon Harissa spicy sauce (Mina brand)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (it will be acidic but works nicely in this recipe, if making sauce for a different recipes, let’s say as a garnish to Branzino, use only 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • ½ cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
To garnish
  • Small basil leaves
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved over tart to taste
  • 8-10 quail eggs
  • Aleppo or Asado red pepper


  1. Bake cauliflower: Preheat oven to 425F. Scatter cauliflower on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, season with spices and salt, sprinkle herb leaves on top. Mix everything well and spread cauliflower scarcely all over the baking sheet to promote browning. Roast for 15 minutes, keeping an eye on it since florets are tiny and can burn fast, flip them once. Kitchen tip: If you overcrowd the pan, cauliflower will steam rather then brown.
  2. To make romanesco sauce: Add all the ingredients to food processor, pulse until well combined but sauce has to remain on a chunky side. Season to taste.
  3. Smear romanesco sauce in a thin layer over baked puff pastry leaving 1½’’ border. Scatter roasted cauliflower on top. Break quail eggs sporadically over the tart; season eggs with pepper on top. Bake for another 5 minutes, until eggs are set but yolks are still runny.
  4. To serve, shave cheese all over the tart and scatter basil leaves on top. Serve hot!

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