This time of year, it take almost no time at all to compose a satisfying snack: a few slices of watermelon on the back deck, a juicy peach dribbling down my chin, a handful of blueberries on some homemade yogurt. On the savoury side of things, I’ve definitely been leaning heavily on thick slices of tomatoes from our CSA, a fat pinch of salt, some olive oil and balsamic, simple on some toasted sourdough. For breakfast or lunch I’ll add a poached egg, greens, avocado, goat cheese, maybe some grilled/sauteed veg if I’m feeling ambitious.
It doesn’t take much to translate this simple late-summer snack into a meal. I think it’s best to not let things get too complicated flavour-wise or by the number of ingredients. Tomatoes, herbs, and cheese are a timeless trio, especially served up on any kind of carb-y vessel. A little seasoning, some roasted onions, and labneh transform these individual ingredients into a greater whole which totally sings of summer.
I know it’s practically September, but there is still lots of summer’s bounty to enjoy before we give in to pumpkin spice everything. I’m not hating on fall; in fact, it’s probably my favourite season. I just feel like as soon as the calendar flips to September, every year people rush to fall flavours. The leaves aren’t even changing yet, so I want everyone to chill out with this tomato tart and a cool glass of wine, enjoyed on your deck/patio/front stoop/outside in any way, shape, or form.
tomato tart with balsamic roasted onions (vegetarian)
serves 2-3 as a main, 4-6 as a side
200g puff pastry
100 g / 1/2 cup labneh (see notes for how to make it)
70 g roasted balsamic onions (see below for recipe)
300 g mixed tomatoes, sliced
handful of basil
handful of pea shoots
3-4 tablespoons grated pecorino romano, divided
Preheat the oven to 425F (convection). Roll out the puff pastry into a 8-9″ square, then place on a large baking sheet. Use a knife to cut a 1 inch border all the way around (don’t cut all the way through, you’re just creating a perforated edge that will puff up into the crust). Spread the labneh up to the border. Scatter the balsamic onions around, then layer on the tomatoes. Sprinkle on half of the pecorino romano, then slide the tray into the oven for about 25 minutes, rotating halfway through if your oven heats unevenly.
Scatter the basil, pea shoots, and remaining pecorino on top. Drizzle on the leftover oil and vinegar from your roasted onions, and finish with a pinch of flakey salt.
balsamic roasted onions
1 large red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
generous pinch of salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350F fan (375 regular). Slice the stem end off of the onion and place in a small oven proof dish. Drizzle the oil and vinegars over the onion, season with salt and pepper, then turn it cut side down in the dish. Cover with a lid or foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the lid/foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes until liquid has reduced slightly and the onion has softened.
Labneh: place a small strainer over a bowl and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth. Scoop 2/3 cup sheep’s milk yogurt into the cheesecloth, then leave to drain for 24 hours. If you don’t have time to make the labneh, feel free to use some ricotta or thinly sliced fresh mozzarella instead.
If you’re roasting one onion, you might as well do a couple since the oven’s on. Peel apart the extras and keep them around for sandwiches, quiche, to blend in a dip, or freeze for later use.