Savory Summer Tarts

by becauseijustdo

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Fresh from the oven.

Sometimes I find summertime meal-planning difficult.  I find myself making the same thing with little variation over and over again.  Summer to me means grilling and an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits but firing up the grill for another kabob just wasn’t appealing last week.  Also, we were about to go away for the weekend so I was hoping I could use up any ingredients I had on hand.

When I want something simple and delicious I always turn to Ina Garten.  I found her recipe for Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts on page 92 of her cookbook “Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics” and quickly discovered the only ingredient I needed to buy was 4 ounces of herb-garlic goat cheese.  I tossed my frozen package of Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry on the counter to thaw and headed to store.

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Garlic, onions & heirloom tomato.

Below is Ina’s recipe for her savory tarts…

Tomato & Goat Cheese Tarts

*makes 4 individual tarts

1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted (I use Pepperidge Farm)
Good Olive Oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves (I used ¾ teaspoon dried thyme)
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (¼ inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler

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Rolling out the Puff Pastry.

Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11×11-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 a total of 4 circles.  (Please note, you will have a lot of unused puff pastry… If you want less waste I suggest using one sheet of the puff pastry rolled out to an 11×11-inch square and simply cut into 4 equal squares).  Place the pastry onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

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I used a latte bowl to create my 6″ circles.

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic.  Sauté for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is very little moisture remaining in the skillet.  Add ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned.  Remove from heat.

Using a sharp paring knife, score a ¼-inch-wide border around each pastry circle.  Don’t cut all the way through the puff pastry and don’t worry it doesn’t have to be perfect.  Prick the inside of the pastry with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside of the scored border.

Place one-quarter of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge.  Crumble 1 ounce of the 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 3-4 shards of peeled Parmesan on each tart.

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Ready for baking… notice the scored edge of the pastry.

Back for 20-15 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.  Serve hot or warm.

I served these with a green salad made up of all the raw veggies left in my fridge … a deliciously different summer dinner.

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