Tomato season is here!!!! My mind is racing with ideas for new recipes and ways to use these little beauties – I have Fourth of July, Big Mama, Little Mama, San Marzano, Beefsteak tomatoes all ready to turn ….does life get any better than the taste of that first fresh tomato from the garden (salt shaker in hand of course)? I had a few friends over for drinks and antipasti ‘a fuori‘ last evening….what a beautiful night to be sitting out under the stars. We even made prosecco and limoncello cocktails with my homemade limoncello – how fun!! And I now have quite a few recipes to post! So I had better get started….first up, a delicious tomato and carmelized onion tart with ricotta and gruyere cheese….this one is a keeper. The creamy cheeses complimented the sweet carmelized onion and fresh tomatoes beautifully. Very easy to make as well – if you are not up for making your own pate brisee (fancy name for pie crust) then by all means, buy it at the market. However, fresh pie crust is so very easy to make so give it a whirl if you are up for it! I made this tart in the morning and served it a room tempature but also quite yummy warm as well. And I am already thinking of some possible variations – add asparagus, mix the ricotta with some salami in the food processor, basil pesto layer instead of ricotta. Enjoy!
Tomato and Carmelized Onion Tart with Ricotta and Gruyere
For pie crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into little pieces
About 1/3 cup ice water
For tart filling:
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 egg , beaten
6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large yellow onions, sliced (about 1 1/2 pounds)
6 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded
1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt. divided
Freshly ground pepper
1. Make the pie crust: Pulse the flour and salt in a food processor until combined. Add in the little pieces of cold butter and process until the mixture becomes coarse crumbs – about 15 seconds.
2. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow steady stream until the dough just comes together.
3. Remove from food processor. Shape into a flat disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow it to rest.
4. Make the tart: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Fit the dough into a 10-inch tart pan. Trim to the height of the sides. Prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill tart pan in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
5. Preheat the oven to 4oo degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Mix the ricotta, egg, 3 teaspoons oil and 1/2 teaspon salt. Set mixture aside.
7. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the remaining 3 teaspoons of olive oil and butter. Once melted, add the onions and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook the onions over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until carmelized and brown, about 40- 50 minutes. Set aside to cool.
8. Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet to trap any drippings. Line dough with parchment paper cut to fit and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges are golden – about 20 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment and bake until the bottom is golden – about 10-15 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
9. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pastry bottom. Sprinkle with the carmelized onions, then the shredded gruyere cheese. Arrange the cherry tomatoes, cut side down, in circles (see photo) starting with the outside and working in towards the center.
10. Bake tart for 20-30 minutes until filling is set and tomatoes are just starting to brown.
11. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.