Home - is where I want to be / But I guess I'm already there /I come home -
she lifted up her wings /
Guess that this must be the place...
- Talking Heads, "Naive Melody"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

First truly stand-out recipe of the new year, these were amazingly good, and not much trouble at all to make. I am going to have to keep an eye out for excuses to have them again. Although everyone I asked for advice suggested salad, I served them with mugs of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup -- it's January, I wanted a fairly substantial mid-day meal, and just could not face the thought of serving something cold.

1 package puff pastry, defrosted
Olive oil
4 c thinly sliced yellow onions
3 large cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp dry white wine
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
4 Tbsp grated Parmesan
4 oz garlic-and-herb goat cheese
1 large tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 Tbsp julienned basil leaves
2 oz Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  1. Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out to an 11x11 inch square. Using a six-inch saucer or other object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of pastry, discarding the excess. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles. Place the circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until read to use. (NOTE: This sort of instruction cracks me up. How big of a refrigerator do you think I have?!)
  2. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  3. Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic. Saute 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, wine, and thyme, and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from heat.
  4. Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4 inch border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with a fork and sprinkle with a Tbsp of grated Parmesan, staying inside the scored border.
  5. Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle. Crumble 1 oz of the goat cheese atop 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. Scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot or warm.
Serves 4 deliciously. 

I don't know why she always insists on fresh herbs. Dried thyme works perfectly well in this. I did get fresh basil, but in Massachusetts, in winter, it's pretty sorry-looking stuff, though the smell was a wistful reminder of summer. For the tomato I used those cherry tomatoes on the vine, which are picked at something resembling ripe, and piled four or five slices on each tart. Heavens, I am starting to sound like a food snob.

I need to get back into the picture-taking and -uploading habit.

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