Tomato Fennel Tart

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From www.foodfanatic.com, by Urvashee Patel
Tomato Fennel Tart

Tomato Fennel Tart Photo

I usually do not like making my food “rustic.” I’m all about clean lines and even prefer my brownies to have perfect edges. So, I was really hesitant going with a rustic crust for this tomato fennel tart. But then I thought, what the heck, it’s summer time!

There’s something about the season, barbecues and backyard parties that says, “Hey, skip the fancy stuff. Make it quick but make it tasty.” So I told myself, who cares about the perfect edge on your tart? Let’s go enjoy the sun. It’s finally here!

This tart was inspired by one of my favorite NYC restaurants. I first had fennel on pizza when I went to Mario Batali’s Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria. Their pizza has bottarga too but I requested a vegetarian version. I think it was the first time I had fennel anything and it was awesome. If you are looking for something different to pair with tomatoes and mozzarella, fennel is a must try.

Tomato Fennel Tart Picture

With an overabundance of cherry tomatoes and a craving for fennel, I decided to make a savory tart. Of course, it tastes nothing like the pizza at Otto but I wasn’t expecting it to either. This is not a pizza. It’s a savory tart with a rich buttery flaky crust. In fact, it might be better than pizza. Make sure you have people to share it with or you might just eat the whole thing yourself!

The greatest thing about rustic tarts is that they take less time than other pies and tarts. You don’t need a pie pan and you can roll it out to whatever shape you want. While you want it to be rolled out to even thickness, you can easily get away with imperfections too. There’s less fuss and the bright tomatoes on this tart make it look appetizing no matter what shape you end up making. So go ahead and try it out at your next gathering! 

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Tomato Fennel Tart Recipe

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Ingredients
For the Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in 1-inch cubes, chilled
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice water

For the Tart Filling:

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 12-18 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

To Make the Crust:

  1. In a large bowl, stir the flour, salt, and sugar together.
  2. Add the butter cubes and toss to cover with flour.
  3. Cut in the butter with either a pastry blender or two knives until the butter is the size of peas, forming a coarse crumbly mixture.
  4. Slowly add enough ice water, while mixing by hand.
  5. Add water until the dough just starts to come together.
  6. Bring it together into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour or even a day ahead.

To Make the Tart Filling:

  1. In a medium-size pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the fennel and shallot slices. Lower the heat and cook until soften.
  2. Remove from the pan and let them cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. While the fennel is cooling, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a large piece of parchment paper.
  5. Spread the cooled fennel mixture and basil over the dough.
  6. Fold the edges over to create a border.
  7. Sprinkle with the cheeses and cherry tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste over the tart.
  8. Transfer the tart, with the parchment paper to a baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tart has browned. Serve warm. 

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