How to Make Homegrown Sun-dried Tomato, Feta, & Caramelized Onion Tart w/Arugula
My friends and I pull out all the stops for our annual pie party competition and this year I liked my tomato tart entry enough that I’ve made it several times since November. It is becoming a quick potluck favorite. I make it either as a large tart or as mini tartlets. It’s delicious!
The recipe calls for soaking the tomatoes in advance but if you forget you can always simmer them in the brine in a small saucepan to rehydrate them. Dry tomatoes will burn in the oven.
You can use store bought sun-dried tomatoes and salty water instead of feta brine.
Homegrown Sun-dried Tomato, Feta, & Caramelized Onion Tart w/Arugula
Dough (for a 9″ tart pan… but for tartlets you can make the same amount of dough and put it into 4 – 6 tartlet dishes):
- 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- Pinch salt
- 3-4 tbsp ice water
- One 16oz jar of Split Creek Dairy feta in brine (you could substitute other goat fetas… but unless you live far from upstate SC, I can’t imagine why you would)
- Dry (not in oil) sun-dried tomatoes (I used my own)
- 3 large onions
- Dash of balsamic vinegar (maybe 2 tbsp or a little more)
- Dash of olive oil (maybe 3 tbsp)
- fresh scallions
- black pepper
- fresh arugula (2 or more cups, you can do without, but it adds a LOT to the dish)
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese (around 3 tbsp)
- The night before you bake your pie pick out enough dried tomatoes to completely cover the surface of your tart pan. Take 3 tbsp of the feta brine and mix it with 3 tbsp water in an airtight container. Add a generous quantity of freshly ground black pepper and put your tomatoes in the container. Shake them gently to coat the tomatoes in the brine and then leave them in the fridge overnight. (Alternately, simmer them in a saucepan on the stove to reconstitute them).
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In a food processor or large bowl mix the flour & salt (pulse in food processor or use a flour sifter). Cut cold butter on top then pulse 20-30 seconds until the butter is about the size of a pea or smaller (you can use a fork if you don’t have a food processor). Turn it out into a bowl and then add 1/2 tbsp of ice cold water at a time and mix it quickly as you add the water. You want to use as little water as possible or you will make a tough cracker instead of flaky crust. Also, the more water, the more the crust will shrink when cooked. When the crust can be pressed together into a ball wrap it and place in fridge about 30 minutes.
- Roll out your crust and line a 9-10″ or equivalent tart pan with it. Make sure to use a tart pan with removeable bottom. Use pie weights or dried beans to weigh down the crust bottom. Bake blind for around 20 minutes (less for tartlets), until cooked through but still pale biscuit-colored. Set aside to cool when you remove it.
- Slice your onions into thin disks, then cut those in half. Cook the onions in a frying pan with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar at about medium heat for 30+ minutes, stirring frequently (and scraping the onion gunk off the bottom of the pan) until they become very brown and caramelized. They should be very limp and a rich, translucent brown.
- Take most (or all) of the Split Creek feta and process it in the food processor with a generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper until it is very soft and grainy. You could also mash it with a fork if you don’t have a food processor.
- Snip one long leaf of fresh scallions into a pile of tiny rings.
- Put a generous layer of caramelized onions into the bottom of the tart, filling it to within a 1/2 cm of the tart rim. Then take the feta and completely cover the top of the caramelized onions. Sprinkle about 2/3rds of the finely snipped scallions over the top of the feta. Remove your tomatoes from their brine marinade and arrange them as artistically as you like over the top of your tart. Sprinkle on the rest of the chopped scallions. Grate a fine (but substantial) layer of fresh (real) Parmesan cheese over the entire tart, including the crust edges (but not so much that you can no longer see the tomatoes).
- Bake for 8+ minutes, or until the crust & Parmesan JUST begins to turn golden brown.
- Serve with fresh arugula (while the pie is still warm if possible).