Caramelized vegetable tart with olives
There’s something magical about caramelized onions – I think it’s because they turn into something totally different than what they started out as. So the idea of a caramelized onion tart really appealed to me. At the farmer’s market in Kingston, NY I spotted some beautiful leeks and fennel, plus the hugest peppers I’ve ever seen. So I picked those up and cooked them up with my onions for an “end-of-summer but not-quite-fall” tart.
Alas, as much as I love caramelized onions, I was worried about the tart being overly sweet, so I tossed on some pitted oil-cured black olives. The contrast between the sweet vegetables and the salty, slightly bitter olives really made the tart. Sure, you could use kalamata olives instead, but I really recommend the wrinkly, oil-cured gems here.
This crust is low in fat compared with a standard tart crust made with up to a stick of butter. The edges are a bit harder than something like a pizza crust, but I kinda liked the contrast with the soft center. I can’t wait to experiment with this recipe, and I hope you will too. I think it would be good with onions, leeks and mushrooms, or with onions and apples. Or maybe a thin layer of pureed butternut squash topped with onions and sage. Go crazy!
Caramelized Vegetable Tart with Olives
2 cups flour (I used half all-purpose, half whole wheat pastry) + 1 extra tablespoon if needed
3/4 teaspoon salt
¾ cup cold water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, main bulb part thinly sliced with a mandolin
2 medium onions, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
2 large leeks, white and green part halved lengthwise then thinly sliced (about 2 cups
2 large red or yellow bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
12 oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or dutch oven. Add the fennel, onions, leeks, peppers and herbs. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have browned a bit. Uncover and cook for 15-20 more minutes, until the vegetables are deeply colored and extremely soft.
Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk the water and olive oil very vigorously. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine. If the dough feels super wet and sticky, add one more tablespoon or so of flour – but it should still be slightly sticky.
On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough to a rectangle approximately 9 x 15”. Transfer to a rimless, lightly-oiled cookie sheet. (You may need a pastry scraper or spatula to get the sticky dough off the counter.) Pinch in the edges of the dough to make a raised edge. Let it rest for 5 minutes, then use your hands to spread it out a little thinner if you’d like.
Spread the vegetables over the dough, and top with the olives. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown on the edges.