Yesterday’s rainy afternoon came over all productive with some contemplative baking alongside a backdrop of traditional Greek music. The result was this caramelised onion, roasted plum tomato and mozzarella tart garnished with rocket leaves, fresh basil and toasted pine kernels. When it came to supper time, we turned down the lights, turned up the music and fired up the candles. Across the table, the tart took centre stage alongside a bowl of baby potatoes dressed with my wild garlic salsa verde, a crisp green salad and a bottle of red. I swear that we heard the gentle lapping of the sea over the sand, still warm from the sun. But that could have been the effects of the wine.
1 packet of chilled all butter puff pastry
3 large red onions, finely sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
75g Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
1-2 tsps of dried wild oregano
3 ripe plum tomatoes, sliced
1 pack of mozzarella, torn into small pieces
A small handful of pine kernels
2 sprigs of fresh basil, leaves picked plus extra to serve
1kg new potatoes, halved (optional)
Rocket leaves, to serve
For the salsa verde:
60g flat leaf parsley
60g wild garlic leaves
3 tsps Dijon mustard
40g capers, rinsed
200ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp sea salt flakes
How I make it
First make the salsa verde by chopping the herbs and garlic leaves with the sea salt until very fine (I use a mezzaluna). Add the mustard and capers. Drizzle in the olive oil and then stir through the vinegar. This recipe yields more than you will need so transfer the rest to a Kilner jar and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks; use it as a you would any other condiment or, for a super quick lockdown lunch, mix it with warm al dente pasta and a flurry of finely grated parmesan.
Place a large frying pan onto a medium heat and leave to warm up. Add a couple of glugs of olive oil and gently fry the onions for around 30 minutes until soft and caramelised. Set aside.
Heat an oven to 180C.
Meanwhile, roll out the pastry to comfortably fit into large tart tin. Spread the onions out across the base and sprinkle with the parmesan and oregano. Place the tart into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Arrange the sliced tomatoes over the top of the onions and tuck the basil leaves and pieces of mozzarella into the gaps. Scatter over the pine kernels and return to the oven. Bake for a further 15 minutes.
When it’s cooked remove the tart from the oven. Allow it to cool down slightly before piling the rocket and basil leaves over the top. Serve with a bowl of the salsa verde on the side or do as I did and place it alongside a bowl of new potatoes smothered in the sauce and a classic salade verte à la Française.