This L.A. Times article about Catalan coca combined with the rain makes me crave stuff baked on top of carbs. I've been looking back at my photos from the atmospheric L'Antic Bocoi del Gòtic restaurant in Barcelona, where in June 2006 we enjoyed marvelous coques, and I've experimented again with easy savory tarts.
If a restaurant serving coques with quality cheeses and beautiful toppings like thinly sliced ham and dates (at left) and sharp arugula and walnuts (right) opened in L.A., tushies would be filling seats in no time. And the hearty salad topped with cheese and surrounded by the typical Catalan combination of currants and pine nuts, plus artful splatters of balsamic reduction, is also easily reproduced here using local ingredients.
In the meantime, or at least until I try the recipe featured in the article, I turn to Trader Joe's Artisan Puff Pastry. Super buttery, no fakey shortening ingredients like Pepperidge Farms, and the sheets are conveniently packaged flat in large squares.
Apologies for getting dangerously close to Rachael Ray territory, but my favorite topping of late is TJs frozen artichoke hearts. Frozen 'chokes have none of the waterlogged texture or gross marinades that plague canned and jarred ones. After defrosting them in the microwave, I combine with caramelized onions and/or shallots and sautee other compatible ingredients, like bacon, shitake mushrooms or asparagus.
Lightly brush the dough with butter, spread the mixture on, lightly top with shredded cheese of your choice, and bake at 425 for 15 minutes or so. It's another great "pantry dish" -- or rather "freezer dish" -- to have at your disposal.