I recently acquired a plethora of fresh, local tomatoes and needed some good, tasty things to do with them. Besides BLTs, obviously.
I quickly settled on making a tomato tart. It’s not too difficult and the tastiness factor is pretty impressive. Underneath that layer of tomatoes hides wilted spinach, caramelized onions, and feta and ricotta cheeses. A few sprigs of thyme is all you really need to add some extra flavor to it.
You could make your own pie crust for this, but I opted for puff pastry. Roll it out a couple times so it doesn’t have the urge to puff as high and pre-bake it weighted with dry beans. It’s not that pie crust is hard to make, it’s just that it’s one of those things that puff pastry can easily replace will no ill effect. Just don’t use one of those pre-made pie shells in the foil. Those are usually sweet and won’t give the proper effect here.
Anyway, back to the tart at hand. There are really only 5 ingredients here, but there is some prep work to do. Fortunately, the prep work can be done ahead of time or while the crust is baking. The onion has to caramelize, not difficult, but takes some time. I like to do several onions at once because it freezes delightfully well. The other prep is wilting spinach, which frankly, is a stretch to call it work. It cooks down quickly and easily. All that is required of you is to stir it. Click through the link for the full recipe and more information.
Tomato Tart with Spinach and Onion
1 large onion, sliced
2 cups spinach
3-4 fresh tomatoes, cut about 1/4 inch thick
4 ounces feta
4 ounces ricotta
and a few sprigs of thyme
1 sheet of puff pasty (plus some flour for rolling it out)
A 12-inch tart shell with removable base simplifies things
pie shell weights or dry beans
1. Preheat the oven to 450F
2. Thaw the puff pastry and fold in half and half again with a tiny amount of water to help bind the folded areas (just a small, even sprinkling will suffice). Roll out the dough to about 13 to 14 inches. Place in a lightly greased tart pan and fold the lip back into itself and press to seal. Prick evenly with a fork. Line with foil and fill with beans or pie weights.
3. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the beans and foil and bake for 10-20 minutes more, until crisp and brown. Allow to cool on a rack, still in the tart pan.
Onions can be made a day or two ahead, or even while the tart shell is baking.
1. Heat a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil and all the onions. Stir to coat everything in oil, then reduce the heat to medium and stir occasionally (leave uncovered. If it starts to burn or have caramelized bits stuck to the pan, add a splash of water and get those tasty bits clinging back onto the onions instead of the pan. It may take half an hour or more depending on the amount on onions you have. When they are soft and brown, you are done. (See here for more info.)
2. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add all the spinach at once and stir the pot. Stir frequently so the leaves at the base don’t burn and so the ones at the top cook down. It should only take a couple of minutes. Stop when all the leaves are wilted together.
3. Combine the feta and ricotta in a bowl. Add the onions and the spinach. Mix with a few cracks of black pepper.
And now the tart assembly
1. Spread the cheese mixture into the bottom of the cooled tart.
2. Layer the tomatoes slightly overlapping over the filling. Add some fresh thyme to the top.
3. Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Can be eaten at room temp or reheated.
Notes: If the tomatoes are very juicy, blot them with a towel so that you don’t end up with a soggy tart.