Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tomato and Goats Cheese Tarts

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.


Patty said...

Oh no...who is sick? So sorry to hear...sounds like there will be lots of videos and cookies at your place....let me know if I can do

girlichef said...

These were so tasty, weren't they! Yum, yours look gorgeous :)

Andrea said...

Your tart looks delicious and I could not agree more about the versatility of this recipe. I love your suggestion of pine nuts and pesto, yum!

So sorry you daughter is under the weather, I hope she is feeling better soon! We had a bout of pink eye earlier in the month and I know how it feels to be 'under quarantine' :(

Penny said...

Suzie, Your tart looks wonderful and I am so enjoying this joint venture with the BBs. We learn so much from each other. Enjoy visiting your blog.

Anne said...

I'm sorry to hear your daughter is sick and hope everyone is better soon! I'm glad you liked the tart, though, and could go for one right now- yours look beautiful!

Melissa said...

Yours look great!

Kim said...

I was looking up ways to use up the extra puff pastry and all I could find were mods of this recipe. It really is endless!

Cathy said...

Suzie, your tart looks fabulous! We really loved this one too. I hope that your sweet daughter is feeling better soon, and that the plaques leave your house once and for all!

Debinhawaii said...

Ahh pinenuts...don't they make everything better!? I think that is a great idea for next time. These were delicious and yours look wonderful.

Hope your daughter feels better soon!

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry your house is sick! That's got to be the pits. Have you caught any of the bugs?

Glad you found such a perfect recipe for your arsenal. These really were tasty.


Summer said...

looks delicious! I loved this recipe. Pine nuts would be a great idea. I'll have to try them next time. I hope your daughter is better soon.

jenny said...

sorry to hear about the sickness =( no fun at all.

i love your suggestion of the smoked salmon. i can already taste it, fluffy and crackly with some cream cheese, a few capers... some red onions.. yum!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of using smoked salmon! This recipe definitely can be changed up, isn't Ina great!

I am sorry to hear about a sick household...I'm wishing a quick recovery!

Rebecca said...

Perfect description of this recipe. I love BBs for the same reason. It always challenges me to make something I might never have noticed.

The Browns said...

Sorry to hear about your daughter. I hope she feels better.

These tarts are on my list of things to make again as well... with a few changed ingredients.

Peggy said...

Sorry you have sickness. I love your tarts, but I also love love love Angus!! He's adorable. This definitely is a versatile recipe.

Cate said...

Oh that looks delicious! I love warm goat cheese, bookmarking...

Karen said...

Yes, this is a great recipe. I like the idea of adding pine nuts, something else I am very fond of!

Linds said...

I agree with you about BB forcing me to make recipes that I otherwise may not have and LOVING them. Your tarts look great! Hope your daughter feels better soon :)

Laura said...

Yours looks quite tasty! I enjoyed this recipe and I might have to try it with some pesto as you suggested.

Spike said...

hope the quarantine is lifted soon! I love your thoughts on variations. pesto would be great with this