2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for splashing
Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed to a paste
Salt and pepper
350g all-butter puff pastry
25g parmesan (or similar vegetarian cheese), grated
150g soft goats’ cheese
2 handfuls of basil leaves, torn
5-6 ripe medium tomatoes, sliced about ¼ cm thick
½ tsp caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7.
Heat the 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and half the thyme leaves, plus a pinch of salt, and cook over a gentle heat for about 15 minutes until the onion is soft and sweet.
Roll (or unroll) the pastry to give a 28cm square. Place it on a large baking sheet and use the tip of a sharp knife to score a line all the way around, about 1cm in from the edge. Don’t cut all the way through; it’s just to form a rim for the tart. Prick the centre with a fork. Cook in the oven for up to 8-10 minutes until it rises and starts to brown.
Remove from the oven and flatten the centre of the pastry square with your fingers. Scatter the parmesan over the base, then spread the softened onions in a layer over the top. Break the goats’ cheese into small bits and scatter evenly over the onions, along with half the basil. Season well, then arrange the tomato slices on top, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with the sugar and the remaining thyme, and season well, particularly with salt. Add a splash of olive oil and return to the oven.
Turn the temperature down to 200C/Gas Mark 6 and cook for 25-30 minutes more, until the pastry is crisp and golden and the tomatoes have softened. Remove, add a splash more oil and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Eat while just warm or at room temperature, scattering the remaining basil over the top before serving.
Lucas Hollweg is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and cook. A former Sunday Times journalist and cookery columnist, he writes for a wide range of food publications. His most recent book is Good Things to Eat.
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