Thursday, March 26, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers: Tart of Tomato and Cheesy Goodness

I was thrilled to find a group of foodie bloggers dedicated to the Barefoot Contessa. When in search of a delicious and reliable recipe, I've time and time again ran to Ms. Ina Garten for ideas. Sooo, cheers to my first Barefoot Bloggers entry!

The two March recipes looked fabulous. I joined after the first recipe, Chicken Piccata, already took place (but plan to make that one too!) so here is the second recipe -- TOMATO AND GOAT CHEESE TARTS. Um, hello, yum! (Thanks to Anne of Anne Strawberry for picking out this recipe!) Mr. J was a bit wary of goat cheese, but I was so excited to try a recipe with many of my favorite ingredients. And this turned out to be so simple. We were visiting my parents this past weekend so I took this opportunity to cook up a storm for a larger audience. I brought along my inside out carrot cake cookies (the March entry for Cookie Carnival!) for taste testing and all the ingredients for these tarts...

1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted (I used Pepperidge Farm)
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
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

What to do:
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.

Let's just say, they turned out beautifully and smelled amazing. I had such fun with assembly -- I cut out the puff pastry circles freehand (with a little bit of guidance as to what "6 inch rounds" were), scored the border with my new favorite knife (the "multicolor paring knife from Williams-Sonoma), and stacked up the yummy ingredients on these beauties (with a few nibbles of the ingredients in between).

I had quite a bit of leftover puff pastry dough so I made some extra treats on a separate tray. I was able to fit the four tarts onto one tray so I would have enough space for the second tray of extras. I rolled some of the puff pastry into "twists" and covered them in extra grated parm cheese. I also made some mini tarts with the extra parm cheese and sauteed onions/garlic. We had these as a snack the next day, mmm, so good even cold!

The tarts puffed up and took on a golden brown color. We found it was easiest to just eat these tarts like a slice of pizza -- picking it up with your hands and devouring it from outside in. I attempted to use a fork and a knife, but that wasn't really necessary.

I would definitely make these again! I loved all the flavors and the recipe is so versatile, you could try all sorts of ingredients in these.

We had the tarts with small steaks on the side. The tarts though are quite filling by themselves, so maybe next time I would put together a side salad with some sort of protein.

Oh, and I'm happy to say that the goat cheese won over Mr. J.


Penny said...

Welcome to the group! Your tarts look wonderful and I am looking forward to following your blog.

Jessie said...

beautiful looking tart! you cant go wrong with tomato and cheese! they make an awesome combination. I love a lot of the barefoot contessa's recipes as well.

Phyllis said...

Looks yummy! Ina Garten's recipes are always so reliable. Nice job.

Jackie said...

Penny, Jessie, and Phyllis - Thank you for your kind words about the tart! I was excited with how they turned out. I almost want to make them again this weekend because they were so tasty.

Anne said...

Those look awesome! I'm glad they were a hit- welcome to the group!

Tangled Noodle said...

That's one pretty tomato and cheese tart!

Melissa said...


thymefornourishment said...

Yeah! It was my first time too. Weren't they yummy!

Debinhawaii said...

Welcome to Barefoot Bloggers! Your tarts look great. This was a fun recipe to make.

Natashya said...

Your tarts look great, Ina does rock!

The Duo Dishes said...

Hello yum is right! That Ina always gets it RIGHT!

Me! said...

Yay for using the scraps! I made mine square because I can't deal with throwing out the scraps when you cut out circles.

Kim - Easy French Food said...

Jackie - Your tarts definitely look tasty. Here's my version of a leek tart recipe that features goat cheese as well as tapenade. Yikes, I gotta make it soon and change my photo - downright frightening it is!

Kimberly said...

Welcome to BB! We also really enjoyed this dish.

Suzie said...

Weome to the group. This was a great one to start with. Glad you both enjoyed them.

Leslie said...

That looks amazing, I will have to give it a try!