Friday, June 4, 2010

Onion and Fennel tart (or Tomato - alternate idea included)

This looks much more difficult that it needs to be - by employing store bought pastry dough, this dish is as easy as toast!

Oven to 325 - or whatever the pastry package recommends (mine says 400 but my oven is such that 350 works)

One large sweet onion like a vidalia
A couple Shitake mushrooms - sliced thin
A hand full of fennel seeds
Ricotta cheese
Feta cheese - crumbled
Store bought pastry sheets
Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground pepper

Thaw out the pastry sheet according to instructions - curl and pinch the edges up just a smidgen - that'll help keep the toppings in place.
Smear the top with a layer ricotta (not too think) - go for even if possible, no need to be fanatical about it though, the idea is to let it look hand made (read: imperfect).

Slice the onions into thin slices - using a mandoline makes it easier - set them in a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil.  Add a shake of salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Spread the onions out on top of the ricotta fairly evenly, then scatter the shitake amongst the onion.
Do the same with the fennel seeds
Top with the crumbled feta

Pop the whole kit and kaboodle into the oven and bake until the pastry is brown and the onions are cooked through.

For a milder onion flavor, saute the onions in a pan over medium heat with the olive oil and a chunk of butter until they start to become translucent - then put them on top of the ricotta.  I usually prefer it this way, but the tart above was for folks that like onions a bit more than I do!

If you don't like onions at all, you can substitute tomatoes for a tart like this;

Substitute Cherry tomatoes for the onion, and Shitake
Fresh Basil for the fennel
Add garlic and pine nuts if you have them
Ricotta cheese
Mozzarella and Parmesan for the Feta
Store bought pastry sheets
Olive oil
Sea salt
Ground pepper

Score the cherry tomatoes and stuff a little chunk of mozzarella in the middle
In a pan over medium heat, saute minced garlic and pine nuts in olive oil till the garlic starts to soften and become fragrant.
Follow instructions on the package to prepare the pastry, spread the ricotta, then place the cherry tomatoes on the cheese (you don't really have to line them up like I did, I was just in a mood for organized veggies.

Once all the tomatoes are set sprinkle on a little salt and pepper, and drizzle the garlic/olive oil mix over the entire sheet.  Top with grated Parmesan and pop into the oven.
Before serving, cut or tear the basil and sprinkle evenly over the tart

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