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GARLICKY CLAM CLOUDS TOPPED WITH BACON AND ARUGULA SALAD

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Ingredients

1, 17.3 ounce package frozen puff pastry sheets (2 sheets)

4 tablespoons butter

10 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

4 ounces cream cheese

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 pound fresh chopped clams, drained and pressed dry with paper towels

¾ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese (plus 2 tablespoons for garnish)

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

5 slices bacon, cooked crisp and finely chopped

 

Arugula Salad:

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup baby arugula leaves, packed

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Let the puff pastry sheets defrost on the counter while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  Once they are soft enough, unfold into flat sheets.

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and add half of the garlic.  Cook until garlic is very fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent.  Add the rest of the chopped garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan.  Cook for one more minute.

Add the salt, black pepper, cream cheese, and lemon juice to the pan.  Cook for another 2 minutes stirring until the cream cheese is mostly melted.  Add the clams and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes more, stirring frequently until most of the moisture is evaporated and a thick creamy sauce has formed.

Gradually add ½ cup of the parmesan cheese to the sauce, stirring between each addition to incorporate. Stir in the chopped parsley.  Turn off the heat and set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the pastry.

Place the thawed pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface.  Cut 8, 4 ½” circles out of the dough using a small bowl and a knife.  Place the dough circles 2” apart on baking sheets that are sprayed with non-stick spray.

Brush each dough circle evenly with the garlic butter.  Distribute the clam sauce evenly over each, leaving about ½” of the edge of the dough exposed.  Sprinkle each with about 2-3 teaspoons of the bacon and then sprinkle evenly with the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown, bubbly, and puffed up into beautiful clouds.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and mustard to make a dressing and toss with the arugula leaves.  Top each pastry with a small mound the baby arugula salad and garnish with additional parmesan cheese…. DEVOUR!!

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