It’s finally almost-spring and although a bouquet of beautiful bright vegetables hasn’t quite shown up at my door just yet, I’ve gotten my hands on some tasty local ingredients and celebrated them with a week of experimenting at savory-tart-making.
It starts with a grainy crunchy crust with plenty of corn flour (I say this is because a corn flour crust is earthier and tastier, and it is, but to be honest I used plenty of corn flour because I ran out of the white flour), followed with some salty Pennsylvania goat cheese with fresh herbs (can’t say that’s not earthy) mixed with a little creamy plain yogurt (that is, Pequea Valley Farm yogurt which is hands down the best yogurt I have had since leaving Morocco…oh Moroccan yogurt how I miss thee. Who remembers Jaouda yogurt?? Seriously though, folks, anyone in Philly, DC or in between should get their hands on this stuff), and topped with caramelized onions, slivers of garlic and sauteed mushrooms.
Salt of the Earth Tart
You will need:
For the crust: this crust is adapted from this recipe on my favorite food blog, which in turn was adapted from a Gourmet magazine recipe. It’s a great savory tart-white pizza crust. I just mixed up the flours a bit to give it that rustic crunchy wholesome grit feel.
For the tart:
1-2 onions, sliced thinly
1-2 tablespoons butter and/or olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
About 10 good sized mushrooms, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, sliced into not-too-thin slices
3 generous tablespoons of your favorite goat cheese
2 generous tablespoons of your favorite plain yogurt
Fresh rosemary, or your favorite herb (I let my herb garden go to seed during the winter and would you believe the sage has lasted with no water and freezing temperatures all these months? If you too have miracle sage, this might be a nice place for it)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Mix yeast and warm water in a small bowl and let foam for a few minutes
Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the egg and oil and add to yeast/water mixture.
Make a well in the flour and pour the liquid into the center; stir starting with a wooden spoon and then knead, adjusting by adding extra flour as necessary. Knead the dough several minutes, place in an oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a draft-free place (I like inside an oven with just the pilot light on).
While the dough is rising, saute the onions for a few minutes in oil and butter (medium high heat). When they start to turn translucent, add the sugar and turn the heat down.
Once the sugar has dissolved, add the mushrooms, garlic, and herbs.
Cook on low for 45-55 minutes, till the onions are caramelized and your entire home smells delicious.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Punch down the dough and roll it into a flat crust. Note: because there is so much corn flour in this dough, it will be a little tricky to work with (for gluten-related reasons that are not important right now). My answer is to roll it into whatever shape it feels like assuming and roll it out right on your baking sheet to avoid awkward transfers. If anyone calls you out on it, tell them the recipe calls for a rustic shaped crust and that it tastes better that way.
Mix together the goat cheese and the yogurt and spread on top of the crust.
Top with the mushroom-garlic-onion mixture, salt and pepper to taste, and Parmesan cheese.
Bake about 30 minutes or until the crust is crispy and beginning to brown.
Cut into squares or triangles.