Sweet Tart

Since I’ve last written, good things have happened in the garden. Beans pods have withered, been picked, shelled and shelved. We voted the orca first for looks (black and white like the whale); we’ll find out soon if its taste lives up to its beauty. The cold room has been overrun by squash; from six seeds comes the gift that keeps on giving. Onions and potatoes are at rest in bins. The blueberries and raspberries have been packed away in the freezer to await pies and jams. The teen twit was on high cuke alert all summer; they rarely made it to the fridge, never mind Greek salad. And the tomatoes. What good friends they’ve been. We stuck to cherry and grape varieties due to bad luck (blight) and taste (bland) with larger varieties over the years, and our tomato bowl has runneth over all summer long. While the twits pop ‘em in their mouths for a sweet antioxidant hit, we fell in love with them all over again as the star of a tart:

Cherry Tomato Tart:

Ingredients:

  • Tart crust
  • 2 lb onions, chopped
  • 1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz gruyère cheese, grated OR 8 oz chèvre frais, crumbled
  • 2 T rosemary OR 2 T dill, chopped
  • Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt + pepper

Make a tart dough. It can be all butter, or a combination of lard and butter, whichever you prefer. Roll the dough out to fit in a tart pan or ring, trim ends and refrigerate 30-60 minutes. Heat oven to 425º. Place on a cookie sheet. Line the shell with foil and weigh it down with beans or some other weight. Bake 18 minutes in bottom third of the oven. Remove foil and weights, poke bottom with fork to prevent puffing up, and return to oven for five minutes. Let cool.

Prep the other ingredients. First, the onions. Here’s the secret of this tart: you want seriously caramelized onions. That means they have to be dark, dark, dark. So heat some olive oil and fry ‘em up. This could take 30 or more minutes. Be patient. Add some salt, too, a teaspoon or so. I prefer Maldon salt. Meantime, halve the tomatoes and grate the cheese (whichever you prefer). Chop the herbs; rosemary for gruyère, dill for chèvre frais.

Heat oven to 375º. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard (optional) on the bottom of the tart. Layer with the caramelized onions, followed by the cheese, herbs, salt and pepper. Arrange the tomatoes cut side down. Bake tart on the bottom rack for 15 minutes, then move tart to top rack and bake until tomatoes just start to brown, another 15 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes before serving.

Serve as a main course accompanied by a salad. It also works as an appetizer.

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