Sunday, February 26, 2006

Tomato Onion Tart

If you like savory tarts, you probably have your favorite. Is it Quiche Lorraine? Spinach and Mushroom, or maybe Potato and Leek? Well, whatever it is – it’s not really your favorite. Oh sure, you might think it is. But that’s just because you haven’t tried my Tomato Onion Tart. Trust me – it has no equals.

If there was ever a dish without a secret ingredient, this is it. It’s just Pâte Brisée (pie dough), filled with a layer of caramelized onions, a layer of grated gruyère, and a layer of halved cherry tomatoes arranged in snug circles. The cherry tomatoes burst with each bite like little balloons, their tartness balanced by jammy onions, and rounded with the richness of the cheese. No combination can be simpler or more sublime.

Even when tomatoes are not in season, this tart seems to bring out the best in them; I find it to be a perfect antidote to February grayness when comfort food is starting to get to me, yet summer is nowhere in site. Besides, it’s Jason’s favorite dish, on par with seared tuna and Boeuf Bourguignon, so making it only during the tomato season is not really an option (at least not for me ;)

Pâte Brisée (tart dough) for one 10-inch tart
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 and 1/2 Lb yellow onions, sliced
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
6 oz gruyère, grated
1 Lb cherry tomatoes, halved
  1. Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Fit into tart pan, trim, and chill 30 minutes while preparing the onions and preheating the oven.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425F with racks in the bottom third and upper third of the oven. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the bottom rack.
  3. Set a large, heavy pot oven medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter is melted, add onions and salt. Cook stirring occasionally until onions are tender, about 12 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook stirring occasionally until onions are medium brown, about 45 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar (optional), and cook stirring occasionally until onions are dark nutty brown, about 15 minutes. Take off heat and set aside.
  4. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet. Line the tart shell with parchment paper or foil and dry beans (or some other weigh) and bake in the bottom third of the oven for 18 minutes. Remove parchment paper with beans, lightly poke dough with a fork at 1/4 inch intervals to prevent it from puffing up, and return to the bottom third of the oven for 5 more minutes.
  5. Turn down the oven to 375F.
  6. Fill the tart shell with caramelized onions. Sprinkle with a layer of gruyère. Arrange cherry tomatoes cut side down in concentric circles starting with the outer circle and working your way in towards the center of the tart. Bake tart on the bottom rack for 15 minutes. Move tart to the top rack and bake until tomatoes are just starting to brown, 15 more minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

30 comments:

Alanna said...

Sure wouldn't have picked a tomato tart this time of year so thanks for the note saying it works, somehow, summer or not.

Genevieve said...

how exciting to find another local food blogger! (and i also trace my roots back to belmont). your tart looks delicious.

Gustad said...

looks great. bet those tomatos came out very sweet?

Danielle said...

That looks beautiful. I'm not too fond of fresh tomatoes, though, so I'd make a version with sun-dried tomatoes instead. But anything with loads of onions and Gruyere is okay by me!

Jason said...

Hi Danielle,

Helen figured that most people reading her blog wouldn't be interested in knowing that (like you), her husband (me) does not like fresh tomatoes. But, I absolutely love this tart! As Gustad surmised, those tomatoes sweeten and lose much of their resemblance to fresh tomatoes. Some of the flavor remains, but intense acidity is replaced with moderate sweetness and the texture changes from watery to tender. Never thought I'd crave tomatoes until I had this tart!

Jason

stephen said...

Hi Helen...this looks absolutely great...I'm going to give it a try soon...!

Anonymous said...

Reading these postings makes me feel less like an odd ball since I will eat tomatoes any way but fresh. I cant wait to try this recipe.

Anonymous said...

try baking the tomotoes in the oven with olive oil, fresh sweet garlic and lemon thyme first for 15 minutes until tender.... then spoon into the tart on top of the onions... this is a delicious alternative.

if you can get old of balsamic sauce (Tesco;s sell it) drizzle over the plate zig zag style and place the tart in the middle and add rocket on top.... fantastic and one of the easiest tastiest starters around!!!

Anonymous said...

I just made this tart and it turned out terrific. I wanted to follow the recipe to the letter however I was out of balsamic. I did have a fresh bottle of Smith and Wollensky's steak sauce so I added a tsp of that instead and it was wonderful. The tart is beautiful and it was simple. It made my house smell wonderful. I will make this for the next dinner party that I go to if I need to bring a dish. Thanks!

missy-j said...

Thanks for the recipe. I'm gonna try this out this weekend.

One question though: Won't the juices from the fresh tomatoes cause the pie crust to get soggy?

Helen said...

If you follow directions for the tart crust carefully, you'll get a crisp crust even with fresh tomatoes. Prebaking the crust and using a pizza stone are key.

Cheers,
-Helen

Lynda said...

Was pretty, tasted great, but took too long to prepare.I guess if you bought a pre-made pastry shell, it would be less complicated, but I did it all from scratch. If I had it to do over, I'd just stir it all up with pasta instead of doing the pastry crust, would be less calories that way as well. I also kept thinking it was a quiche without the eggs, which might even be better.

maria said...

What a great recipe. I am an awful baker and cant get pasty right but this step by step was just right for me. I made the tomato and onion tart and am now considered a genius by my family. Many thanks
Maria

Anonymous said...

how is this tart the next day? can i be made in advance and reheated?

Helen said...

tarts generally are not as good the next day. you can make all the parts the day before (I always do): onions, grate cheese, make dough. But do all the baking the day off. You can make it couple of hours in advance and let sit at room temp, then reheat, but don't make it a day in advance and refrigerate.

Cheers,
-Helen

Anonymous said...

Wow, you were right, this tart is now my favorite tart and all from only a few ingredients too.
It's simply delicious!!
Even with my bottom crust getting a little soggy it still was the best thing I have eaten in months. I added a bit too much olive oil while carmalizing my onions but I will watch that next time. Thanks so much for posting this recipe, it's too die for. :) Bren

Anonymous said...

Made this for my family tonight and called it "upside down pizza." I doubled the sugar in the pie crust to make it more appealing, and added some bacon pieces over the onion. Really delicious - thanks for the recipe - even the kids loved it!

zlern2k said...

Very happy to re-find this recipe after making it a couple years ago. The recent comment suggestion of adding bacon is genius!

kj said...

I stumbled upon this after doing a Google search, seeking a tart recipe in which to use my just-picked tomatoes. I have to thank you for sharing this incredible recipe. SO tasty!

Anonymous said...

What a waste of my wonderful cherry tomatoes. It's very time consuming and the results are not very good. An hour or more to cook the onions? Come on, that's ridiculous. Half that time would have sufficed. There's WAY too much salt and too much cheese.

Anonymous said...

OMG this was amazing. Try this recipe!!!

melanie said...

you say you can't make it in advance, would you be able to make it in advance up to the part were you put the whole thing back in the oven??? much appreciate advice.

Jason said...

you can make it up to 12 hours in advance. the key is not to put it in the fridge because the dough doesn't taste as good if you do. if you have to refrigerate it, it's not the end of the world. It will still be good (just not as good :)

melanie said...

MANY THANKS JASON.

Anonymous said...

I dont have a tart pan and I have guests coming in 4 hours!! is there anything else i can use?

Allen said...

A bit late, but for a quick tart pan, unscrew the handle from a non-stick frying-pan. Works a treat. And if you make the tart as a tarte tartin, you don't have to blind bake the pastry. Just put the tomatoes in the pan cut side down and the onion jam(or whatever) on top. Place the pastry over the top and tuck in. Bake as normal. When cooked, turn out onto a serving dish.

Anonymous said...

I make this with a store-bought pie crust in a pie tin like you would with a quiche. It's delightful, and it reheats ok. I wouldn't serve up a reheated version for company, but for a left-over lunch, it's pretty decent. It's super delicious!

Anonymous said...

Made this for a brunch today. It was delicious! Thank you.

Prepped all the ingredients last night so all I had to do this morning was assemble and bake.

Lydia

Helen Rennie said...

glad your tart came out well :)

CapeCod Steve said...

I blundered on this recipe looking for something to do with my cherry tomatoes.

I did perverse things to your recipe but decided to post it anyway. Since I'd just used a puff pastry to make a rhubarb gallette, only cool thing I've ever baked and idiot simple, I did not want to use my remaining pastry because the fat content shocked me. So...I substituted a thin crust Boboli and, since I've been unsuccessful in giving up my carnivore urges, sauteed some ground lamb with thyme, drained it, and topped the cheese with it before adding the tomatoes. We thought it was good.

I look forward to exploring your site.