Thank God for Vegetarians: Tomato and Onion Tart

Tom and I just returned from our annual trip to Shenandoah organized by our friends Jim and Colleen in honor of Jim's birthday. Tom and I were tasked with making dinner on Friday evening for our group of eight, and since Tom assumed responsibility for all meats and the vegetable sides, I only had to worry about dessert and the vegetarian entrée.

Thinking back over my experiences cooking for others, I'm actually grateful that we happen to have some vegetarian friends. As someone who unabashedly loves meat, I normally would not bother making vegetarian food if the circumstances did not require it. But having to make vegetarian entrées from time to time gives me new cooking challenges and also has the nice fringe benefit of helping me discover some new tasty foods. A great case in point in the vegetarian tart I made for this year's cabin trip.

Last year's butternut squash tart went over so well that I decided to make another tart this year. I found a recipe for a tomato and onion tart on that appealed to me for a few reasons. First, I could make the butter pastry dough for the crust in advance (at home) and just keep it chilled and take it with us to the cabin. Second, the tart itself requires very few ingredients -- just the crust (which itself requires only four ingredients -- flour, salt, butter, and ice water), onions, olive oil, tomatoes, olives, and cheese. I was sold!

The crust was great. I was able to put together the butter pastry dough at home in just a few minutes, and when I rolled out the dough more than a day later at the cabin, it was very easy to handle and didn't stick at all (I rolled it out on parchment paper and didn't need to use any flour on the dough or the rolling pin). The most time consuming part of preparing the tart was caramelizing the onions -- but after that is done, all you have to do it spread the onions into the tart shell, and then top the onions with grated cheese (I used Gruyère), sliced tomatoes (I used a mix of heirloom red and yellow and campari), pitted Niçoise olives, and salt and pepper. The recipe does not require blind-baking the crust.

I arranged the tomatoes in a nice pattern on top of the tart, dotted with olives. The tart looked beautiful both before and after baking. I baked my tart for an hour, and it probably could have used a few extra minutes in the oven -- while the tart crust was cooked, it was not crisp on the bottom. I'm not sure if this is simply because the crust is not blind-baked. Still, the crust was very flavorful. And the tart as a whole? Delicious. The tomato and cheese combination was slightly reminiscent of pizza, although the sweet caramelized onions added another dimension of flavor that was exceptionally tasty. All of the flavors of the tart went together wonderfully.

I would definitely make this tart again. I think it would be a perfect summer dish when tomatoes are at peak season. But even in November, it made for a satisfying and comforting dish on a chilly autumn evening in the Shenandoah Valley!

Recipe: Tomato and Onion Tart and Butter Pastry Dough from

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Louise said…
This tomato tart is great in late summer when my tomato vines are overflowing with ripe tomatoes. I've made this recipe several times since it was first published and it never fails. I'm glad you found it.