TOMATO & ONION TARTE
2 large onions (about 1½ pounds), sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
butter pastry dough for a single crust 12 inch tart (recipe follows)
½ pound dry Jack or Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
½ pound plum tomatoes cut into ½ inch wedges
½ pound medium yellow tomatoes (about 2) or ½ pound plum tomatoes, cut into ½ inch wedges
¼ cup Niçoise olives, pitted
In a large, heavy skillet cook onions with salt to taste in oil, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove lid and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden and any liquid evaporates. Remove skillet from heat to cool onions slightly.
Preheat oven to 370 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll dough into a 14 inch round (about 1/8 thick). Fold round in half and transfer to a 12-inch tart pan with a removable fluted rim or a 12 inch quiche dish. Unfold dough, easing to fit, and trim overhang to 3/4 inch. Fold overhang toward center and press against side of pan or dish. Spread onion mixture over dough and top with cheese. Arrange tomato wedges and olives in concentric circles over cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Bake tart in middle of oven 1 hour, or until pastry is golden, and cool on a rack. Remove rim of pan if necessary.
Serve tart warm or at room temperature. Serves 12 to 16 as part of buffet.
BUTTER PASTRY DOUGH
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
6 to 7 tablespoons ice water
Throw first three ingredients into food processor and mix. While mixing, add water slowly, till ingredients form a ball of dough. (It might not all adhere in a single ball; don’t overdo it, or you’ll break your machine.) Wrap dough in slastic wrap and chill 1 hour. Pastry dough may be made 1 week ahead and chilled. Makes enough dough for a single crust 12 inch tart.
1. I find that this pastry dough recipe always makes enough for more than one 12 inch tart.
2. If you cover roll out the dough with a layer of plastic wrap between the dough and the rolling pin, nothing sticks, and the whole thing makes the expression “easy as pie” meaningful. (Other wise “easy as pie” is a cruelly sadistic culinary seduction to all young brides. Pie crusts can be frustrating and difficult!!)
3. You can mix and match the cheeses. No need to stick with these stipulations. A mixture of Gruyere and Jack or Mozzarella is also good.
4. Various kinds of olives work with this. I like pungent black (Greek) olives on this tart, even though I'm not so fond of them plain.
5. This tart comes out better if the shell is baked first, separately, before filling it. That way, the shell stays wonderfully crisp and yummy. To bake an unfilled tart shell, roll out the dough, lay it out in the tart pan, then line dough with tin foil, then fill the foil covering with weights (no need for real weights; a bag of beans will do, and you can save these beans and use them over and over again as weights for future tart shells), then bake at 425 for ten minutes. Then, remove the weights and the foil carefully, and bake the uncovered shell another 3 to 5 minutes, till dry and golden. Don’t let it burn!!
(Do you wonder about the weights? Here’s why you need them. If the dough gets cooked unweighted, it’ll bubble up, and you lose your tart shape. You’ll end up with a roller-coaster shaped piece of useless pastry.)