Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts--Barefoot Bloggers

Our final Barefoot Bloggers recipe for March is Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts and it was selected by the wonderful Anne of Anne Strawberry. I am a fan of all the components of this recipe, so I was happy to try it. Although I strive to make my Ina dishes healthier and better for me, there isn't a lot you can do with puff pastry to make it a much healthier choice, so I made half the recipe, (2 tarts), and threw in some baby spinach for extra nutrients. With a simple salad, it is a nice light lunch or dinner. 

This recipe can be found in Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics (pgs 96-97) or at the Food Network site here.

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten
(Makes 4 Individual Tarts)

1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 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 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.

Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of 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 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.

Notes/Results: Yum! The crispy light crust, topped with savory onions, tomatoes, goat cheese and herbs is delicious. I used one sheet of my pastry and made two tarts. There are a few steps and you will spend some time, mainly with your onions, but this recipe goes together easily. I used a bit less oil for my onions and tossed a large handful of baby spinach in for the last 5 minutes of cooking for extra fiber, vitamin A and other nutrients. The onion mixture was so good, I would have been happy with just onions on my tart. The big tomatoes at the Farmer's Market just didn't look red and appealing, so I grabbed some smaller, baby Roma-style ones from North Shore Farms/Big Wave Tomatoes that I sliced up, as well as some cherry tomatoes for my salad. For the goat cheese, I ended up using some Cypress Grove Chevre, with dill. (BTW; I could just sit and eat this cheese spread on crackers). The nice thing about herbed goat cheese is that you don't have to use much for a big flavor boost. These tarts smell so good in the oven and they look a beautiful and impressive on the plate. Although I won't make them a lot, I would make these tarts again for a special occasion.

Thanks Ann for a fun and delicious pick. You can see how the other Barefoot Bloggers' tarts turned out by going to the BB site and looking at the "Whose Turn Is It" list, here.


  1. I loved this recipe, too. Yours look beautiful.

  2. Mmm, now that is my kind of meal! Looks wonderful!

  3. Your tarts look so delicious! I love that you added spinach, I wish I would have thought of that. I will have to try these again with the spianch and puff pastry.

  4. I am with you on the puff pastry front, but it's something we all must live with. And this tart looks so good, that I think we can deal.

  5. Your tart looks wonderful. And the spinach was a good addition. I love that this recipe is so adaptable.

  6. Love how you added some spinach! We loved this one too. I agree that the goat cheese adds a huge flavor with a minimal amount of cheese. I will definitely make this again; I might actually try making it on whole wheat pitas to make it a little healthier for eating on a regular basis. The puff pastry is a great treat, though. Yours looks beautiful!

  7. This look so delicious!! I have never tried goat cheese on mine. Spinach was a great addition.

  8. Yeah. I agree, not much you can do about puff pastry. I contemplated making a whole wheat pie crust and using my tart shells and really wish I had. I'll be making these again though... so I'll remember that for next time!


  9. These look so pretty and delicious! Great job.

  10. Yours looked lovely - I thought they were really scrumptious. Wish I had some more......

  11. I'm glad you liked the tart Deb! I agree about lightening Ina's recipes and think the spinach was a nice addition. It's always great to see what you've been cooking!

  12. Weren't they delicious? I love the idea of adding spinach. I'll have to try that next time.

  13. Yeah, it's hard to turn puff pastry into lowfat. But you have to have fun every once in awhile.

  14. I thought the same thing about the pastry...but sometimes Ina just knows what is best, doesn't she?

    Your addition of spinach sounds great. I thought for my next try I'd do mini roasted red peppers and feta...adding spinach would be perfect!

  15. You used the Cypress Grove on these? I'm green with envy. Sounds delicious.

  16. looks delicious! i've been using my puff pastry in my freezer, not for tarts, but you've given me a savory idea now :)

  17. These were so fabulous, definitely worth the splurge!

  18. I hear ya on the puff pastry not being great for the figure, but man these were so good and worth the splurge. Yours look great especially with those nice bog shreds of cheese melted on top!

  19. You do such a great job with your recipes and photos, I need to try this one.


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