- 2 or 3 ripe heirloom tomatoes (depending on the size)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 bulb fennel, tops removed and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 small eggplant, cut into small cubes
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1-9 inch tart pan
- 4 to 6 ounces Beecher's Flagship cheese, grated
- 4 ounces Tieton Blanca cheese (or your favorite chèvre), crumbled
- Pitted olives for garnish (optional)
- Basil leaves for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 425° F. Slice the tomatoes into 1/8-inch slices, sprinkle them with a little sea salt and set on paper towels to drain.
In a heavy sauté pan, heat the oil and cook the onions and fennel over medium high heat for about 5 minutes or until tender and lightly caramelized. Stir in the thyme, eggplant, peppers and garlic. Cook until the eggplant is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the basil and season with the salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. (You may prepare this mixture up to a day ahead and refrigerate.)
Unfold 2 sheets of pastry onto a cutting board, stack them on top of each other and roll them out together to make a 12×12 inch square. Prick the surface all over with a fork. Fit the pastry into the tart pan. Let the pastry drape over the edge of the tart pan by about 1/2 inch (to allow for shrinkage while baking) and trim any excess with kitchen shears. Pre-bake the shell for 12 minutes.
Spread the fennel and eggplant mixture in the pre-baked pastry shell and top it with half of the Flagship cheese and half of the chèvre. Layer the tomato slices on top and sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Garnish the top with pitted olives and basil leaves if you would like and bake for 10 to 12 minutes more or until bubbly and golden.