This is hands down my favorite summer appetizer. A crisp pastry shell holds creamy goat cheese flecked with chives, and is topped with sweet purple onions, dead-ripe tomatoes, and briny Kalamata olives. If you don't like really strong goat cheese, look for a mild variety, or replace part of the goat cheese with cream cheese to mellow it out. I serve this, some nuts, cured meats, and wine for a fabulous start to a lovely summer's evening with friends.
8-inch tart shell, baked and cooled using 1/3 Basic Pie Crust recipe or purchased pie dough
12 ounces goat cheese
2 Tablespoons minced chives
2 medium, ripe tomatoes sliced into thin rounds and laid out on paper towels (Use heirloom tomatoes if available)
8 whole Kalamata olives
Purple Caramelized Onions
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Fresh Herbs for garnish, optional
Prepare the caramelized onions: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with the salt. Saute the onions until soft but not browned at all, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and vinegar and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a glass bowl. Refrigerate until cooled. Onions will turn purple as they cool.
Assemble the tart:
Place the goat cheese in a glass bowl and warm in the microwave just until soft. Add the chives and combine well. Spread evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the tomatoes by overlapping around the outside edge of the tart. Place clumps of the onions around the edge and in the center of the tart. Place Kalamata olives in the center atop the onions. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.
Serve immediately or it may be held up to a day. If preparing in advance, warm it in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes before serving.