I was going to start this blog with the sentence, “I love a meal that is complete with perhaps the addition of a salad.” But who am I kidding? That’s maybe the fussiest thing I’ve ever said about food. Ever. I love a meal and it can be any kind, though I do seem to have a particular adoration for tarts. What’s not to love? The word is derived from a word that means cake, and yet they look sort of like pie, and you can pretty much put anything you want in them. You want sweet? OK. Savory? Fine! Summery? Done. Hearty? You got it! And if there is one thing I unequivocally love without guilt or repentance, it’s a dish that is inherently mixy-matchy.
Today I bring you something hearty. Sure, this is probably more seasonally appropriate in the winter and right now everyone’s looking to asparagus and okra, but you know what? The fresh herb crust kicks ass, and delicious is delicious at any time of year. With that in mind, I now present the sweet potato, red onion and fontina tart. Complete with occasionally manoodled pictures. 🙂 Because I can’t help myself, that’s why.
First, make your crust, the preparatory phases for which (for some godforsaken reason) I don’t have any pictures. Go figure. Get it mixed and shaped into a disc and in the fridge, so it can chill while you prep your sweet potatoes. For said potatoes: nothing fancy, folks. Just peel them, slice them about a quarter-inch thick and toss them with oil, salt and pepper. Be careful not to slice them too thick because they won’t cook properly and frankly, there is little that causes me more disappointment than an undercooked sweet potato. It holds so much promise of deliciousness, but never delivers. Don’t give me a sad. Cook your potatoes.
And so, put them in a 425° oven for ten minutes, then take them out and set them aside (and drop the oven temp to 375°). They can cool, that’s fine. You need to get your dough and cheese ready.
Mmmmm, cheese. Earthy, melty, nutty fontina cheese. Did I digress? Yes? Too bad.
Lay out a piece of parchment and roll out your dough. I do recommend putting it on parchment and not just rolling it onto a floured tabletop, because then it becomes just so easy to pick up the whole thing and slide it onto your baking tray. So. Roll it out, roughly into a 15″ circle.
Consider this to be a piece of evidence, as though you were in court. When looking at exhibit A, bear this is mind. It is indeed kind of squareish, not round, and can hardly be called “beautiful”. This is OK, because you’ll fold it all over and nobody will ever care. Exhibit A is also way more flecked than you might imagine considering the amount of herbs the recipe calls for. That is because I probably used twice as much fresh herbery. Further, it specifically says to use rosemary and/or thyme, both of which are delicious for sure, but I’ve also used parsley and oregano. Do you have an herb garden? What’s growing there? Use that. (Though I would probably stay away from both basil and cilantro, simply because they’re so delicate I don’t know that their flavor would withstand the cooking time. And mint in this would just be weird…but maybe…I might think about mint with this and a little ricotta and spinach and lemon. See? Tarts. They make me get all tangent-like.) Exhibit A demonstrates to the jury that tarts can be easier than one might think.
Next, CHEESE! Share the goodness that is fontina!
And then start in with your veggies. Leave some room so you can fold over the edges when you’re done (but they won’t fold all the way into the middle, so don’t plan for that) and lay down your first ring of sweet potatoes.
Next, put down your layer of red onions, which are cut to roughly the same thickness as the sweet potatoes. You won’t traumatize me nearly as much if you cut these thicker than the potatoes and they don’t cook as thoroughly, but 1) things cook together better when they’re roughly the same size and 2) why wouldn’t you want the onions to get as caramelized and sweet as possible? You’re not thinking straight. Do you feel quite well?
Then put on your next layer of taters, and keep going until you get to the middle. You can have fun with it, build it into a rosette. Because it just looks frigging nice, mmmmkay? Though I may have gone a little over the top making this picture look like an old-timey photo, but you know what?
Top it with the rest of the cheese and some fresh chives, and then carefully-but-don’t-sweat-it, fold over the edges of the crust. Like I said, you won’t come anywhere near the middle. Don’t worry. Just anticipate.
Bake it for fifty minutes and let it cool for ten. At the end of it, you’ve got a fantastic, hearty, healthy vegetarian entree. Which really is perfect with a salad, and I don’t care if that sounds fussy or not.