Tuesday, March 24, 2009

(Sun Dried) Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts

The current Barefoot Bloggers, challenge was Ina's Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts, selected by Anne Strawberry. I was excited about this recipe because I love several of the basic elements of the dish, specifically goat cheese and caramelized onions. However, I'm not a big fan of fresh tomatoes. I love cooked tomatoes, tomato sauces, even ketchup on occassion, but do not like to bite into a raw tomato. I wish I felt differently about this fruit-often-posing-as-a-vegetable, because I love the beauty and color of a table full of heirloom tomatoes at the farmer's market. I wish I could particpate in the zealous mming and aahing of those taking their first bite of the season's first tomatoes. I just can't. So, I continue to expand my reportoire of cooked tomatoes and look for ways to substitute when fresh is called for.

In this recipe, I chose to use slivers of sun dried tomatoes and found that they were a great alternate. Their slightly tangy, slightly sweet flavor and chewy texture provided a great compliment to the creaminess of the goat cheese. I also chose to use my method for caramelized onions which omits garlic and adds sugar. These tarts were fantastic! They would be beautiful cut into wedges and served as an appetizer, or as a light dinner. They were also great reheated for a few seconds in the microwave the next day. Thanks for this great choice Anne!

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts
Back to Basics, by Ina Garten

1 package (17.3 ounces/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 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide 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 425 degrees F.

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.

My Notes: For the onions, I omitted the garlic and wine and added a tablespoon of butter and tablespoon of sugar at the beginning of the cooking time. Instead of slices of tomatoes, I sliced 4-5 sun dried tomatoes into slivers and scattered across the top of the tart.
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  1. Your tarts look divine. I agree about the tomato slice. I roasted plum tomatoes for a great taste. Enjoyed visiting your blog.

  2. Oh those look so delish! Funnily enough... the tomatoes take a different taste after they were baked. I'm with you though... I'm picky about certain things.


  3. I bet the sun dried tomatoes were delicious in this! It certainly looks yummy!

  4. I absolutely LOVE sundried tomatoes and goat cheese. Great adaptation!

    ;) amy

  5. Sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese are really great together, too. Your tarts look great!

  6. What a great idea to use sundried tomatoes! I'll have to try that next time.

  7. Your tarts look beautiful - I always love your take on things. Too bad about the fresh tomatoes. I never liked fresh tomatoes until I had a beautiful one served to me about ten years ago and it won me over. You just never know.....


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