It's nearly the end of March, and it's time for the last of our Barefoot Bloggers recipes. I love being part of this group because it is making me attempt things that I would not otherwise try, and I am discovering recipes that I will return to over and over again. Today's recipe, Tomato and Goat's Cheese Tarts (and last week's Brownie Pudding) will be among the few things about this month that I am keen to revisit. My elder darling daughter has been diagnosed with whooping cough / pertussis, so we are in quarantine again... (as an aside - it is starting to feel a little biblical around here with all the plagues visiting our house - I'll let you know if frogs or locusts appear). The up side of this is lots of time in the kitchen.
I halved the recipe as a lunch for the two of us. And luckily for me, this is my kind of recipe. It is the sort of thing that I always order when I am out at a cafe. Tasty, and big on flavour, the crunch of the pastry is offset by both the creaminess of the goats cheese and the slippery cooked tomato. It is also endlessly modifiable according to your tastes and preferences (mushrooms, smoked salmon, provencal vegetables, pesto, etc are all possible additions / substitutions). Next time, I make this combination, I will throw some pinenuts into the goats cheese mix for an extra bit of texture and nuttiness. This recipe would also be wonderful for entertaining because it looks and tastes great, and plates so easily. You could also make tiny bite-size tasrts as an hors d'oeuvre.
The Barefoot Bloggers are a group of blogging cooks who whip up a couple of recipes each month from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. This week's choice was from Anne Strawberry - who is clearly a woman with tastes similar to mine. Merci beaucoup chere Anne! If you want to see how the other Barefoot Bloggers found this recipe check out the blogroll here.
Tomato and Goat's Cheese Tarts
From Ina Garten: Back to Basics
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 50g shaved with a vegetable peeler
120g garlic-and-herb goat cheese (I could only get plain, so I mixed in an Italian spice mix)
1 large tomato (or 2 small), cut into thick slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves
Using an 18cm saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 210F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.