For reasons unknown, when I was planning my Super Bowl snack menu, I decided I wanted to include something slightly fancier than your average football fare. Now, it’s not like we had some swanky, black tie, Super Bowl watching party; quite the opposite, in fact. It was just my husband and I, a few friends, and our finest sweats. I mixed up some ginger and blood orange vodka sodas, stuck some honey chipotle turkey meatballs on toothpicks, stirred up some very fancy queso (you will pry my processed, fake Velveeta from my cold, dead hands), and made this delicious (and easy) tart. It’s easy enough to throw together for even the most last-minute gathering, but pretty and delicious enough to be impressive.
Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart
serves 8 as an appetizer
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry
1 large, sweet onion, sliced into thin half moons
a few sprigs of thyme
1/2 T butter
1/2 T olive oil
2 ounces soft goat cheese
salt and pepper
1.) Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add the butter and olive oil to the pan. When the pan is good and hot, add the onions. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook the onions (tossing often) until they are softened and brown around the edges, about 5-7 minutes.
2.) Strip the leaves from a couple sprigs of thyme (you want about 1 teaspoon of leaves), and toss them in with the onions. Lower the heat to medium-low, and continue cooking the onions until they are a nice golden brown, about 15 to 20 more minutes. Remove the onions from the heat and allow to cool. If you’d like, this step can be done up to a day ahead; just store the onions in the fridge, in a covered container.
3.) Preheat your oven to 400°. Prepare your puff pastry for baking, however the package indicates (many puff pastries require just a few minutes of defrosting at room temp). When the puff pastry is ready, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
4.) Using a sharp knife, score the dough about 1″ in from each edge (you want to cut through the first few layers of the dough, but NOT all the way through; go slowly, and use a light touch with the knife, and you should be fine). This border will allow the edges of the puff pastry to rise appropriately, even though the center is kind of weighed down with other ingredients.
5.) Spread your caramelized onions into a thin layer in the center of the dough (stopping at the scored lines), and then top the onions with crumbled goat cheese. In a small bowl, beat together your egg and a tablespoon of water; lightly brush this mixture over the exposed edges of the dough. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the border is golden brown, and puffed up.
6.) While the tart bakes, make a balsamic reduction. Place a small saucepan over medium heat, and add about 1 cup of balsamic vinegar. Bring the vinegar to a strong simmer, and allow it to bubble away until it’s reduced by a little more than half. Keep a close eye on it, because it goes from nice and syrupy, to rock-hard, pretty quick! (Trader Joe’s sells a bottled balsamic reduction, which is what I used.)
7.) Remove the tart from the oven, and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes. Top with some extra thyme leaves, and a drizzle of the balsamic reduction. Cut into squares or small slices, and serve!
So, let’s be honest: flaky, buttery, puff pastry, paired with sweet, soft caramelized onions, tangy goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar? SIGN ME UP! This tart is crazy delicious – and, as I mentioned before, it looks pretty awesome, too! Definitely a recipe to keep in your back pocket for your next cocktail party.
Because, really, the Super Bowl is all about the food and the commercials,