Monday, February 7, 2011

Romance Cookalong : Tarte d'Amour

The February assignment in the Irish Foodies Cookalong series was Romance, given that it's Valentines Day & all that.  Actually Feb 14th features very prominently in our house, but not for the reason you think.  Both my Mum and The Hubs' Mum were born on Valentines Day so for us, it's all about them.

Romance generally means love, so what better ingredient to use for my dish than Love Apples.  What do you mean, I'm making it up?  Oh no I'm not - love apple is an old name for a tomato so how could I not create the  most romantic of dishes - and it's heart-shaped as well!

Tarte d'Amour

200g Shortcrust Pastry
1 large Onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Rapeseed Oil
15g Butter
1 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp Balsalmic Vinegar
150g Feta Cheese
1 tbsp fresh Mint, shredded
150g Baby Plum Tomatoes - semi dried
1 tbsp fresh Thyme leaves
Salt & Pepper

Heat your oven to 175c/Gas Mark 5 & line a lightly greased baking tin with greaseproof or baking paper.

Roll out the pastry & carefully place it into the tin.  Use a ball of leftover pastry to push it into the tin - this stops you tearing it (especially if you have long beyootiful nails like mine).  If it does tear, just patch it up with the offcuts.  Prick lightly with a fork and bake it blind (greaseproof paper & baking beans) for 15 minutes until the top of the pastry has started to colour.  Now remove the baking beans & paper and bake for another 10 minutes until the pastry has dried out.  Remove from the oven & set aside

In the meantime, heat the oil & butter gently in a pot, add the onion and sugar to the pot.  Cook for 30 minutes on a very low heat - it will change colour to a golden brown & soften right down.  Add the balsalmic vinegar & cook for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat & allow to cool.

Cut the tomatoes in half & place on a lined baking sheet.  Season with salt & pepper, sprinkle the thyme leaves over & bake for 30 minutes until shrunken and squidgy.

Now it's time to assemble the tart.  Spread the caramelised onions over the pastry base.  Slice or crumble the feta & put on top - sprinkle with the shredded mint.

Finally, top with the semi-dried tomatoes and bake for 15-20 minutes until hot and delicious.