Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Agrodolce grape tart with feta and pancetta

Unfortunately, summer has drawn to a close, and autumn is very much upon us.  It is becoming steadily cooler, with ever rarer warm days and shorter glimpses of sunlight.  We will soon have to say goodbye to  glorious summer fruit for another twelve months, and make do with the leaner pickings of cold storage fruit during the winter.

Accordingly, as a nod goodbye to the summer and an acknowledgement of autumn, I could not resist making the Agrodolce Grape Tart with Goats Feta and Pancetta on p102 of the March edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller.  It features an enticing and eye-catching combination of white and red grapes, red onion, garlic and feta, cradled in a puff pastry shell.  Instead of goat's feta, I used the common garden cows milk variety, but the twist is that I made it in my cheesemaking course in November.  The magazine made their tart free form, but for a touch of added elegance, I used a rectangular tart pan to shape my tart. 

Don't you think it looks fabulous?

If you are tempted by this tart, you will need:

80g butter
1 red onion
3 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons each of thyme, sage and rosemary
400g mixed red and white grapes
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 beaten egg (for eggwash)
80g drained marinated feta
6 thin slices pancetta
12 sage leaves

Puff pastry (ready made or make your own)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Spray a long rectangular tart pan with a removable base with spray oil, and line the pan with puff pastry. 

Chop the butter into cubes, and add half to a fry pan over low heat.  Chop the onion, garlic and herbs finely. Ad the onion and garlic to the frypan, and cook until both are transparent and soft.  Add the chopped herbs to the pan, mix in with the onion and garlic, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the grapes, flour, cooled onion mixture and olive oil.  Scatter the mixture over the puff pastry and brush the exposed edges of the pastry with eggwash.  Crumble the feta over the top of the tart, then place it into the preheated oven and bake until cooked through and golden brown (~30 minutes).

While the tart is baking, heat a frypan over high heat, then put the pancetta  in the pan and fry it, turning occasionally, until crisp.  Remove the pancetta from the pan and drain on paper towel.  Wipe the pan clean with paper towel, then add the remaining butter to the pan over high heat, and when it is foaming, add the sage leaves and fry until crisp.  Remove the sage from the pan and drain on paper towel.
Once the tart has baked, scatter it with the pancetta and sage prior to serving.
This is a glorious combination of flavours, and like nothing I have ever made before.  The grapes become satisfyingly soft and juicy in the oven, and the sweetness of the grapes and the onion bounces satisfyingly off the saltiness of the pancetta and feta.  You don't need a tart pan to make this - you can simply fold up the sides of the puff pastry and end up with a delightful free form tart.

This tart would be perfect as a starter at a dinner party, or as a light weekend meal.  I will definitely be making it again.


Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Wow! Your tart is so appetizing! I love the length of it, and how it is overflowing with good ingredients. I think it would be very impressive at a dinner party as you've suggested.

Anonymous said...

This looks really tasty! Since spring is descending upon us here in the northern hemisphere, I'm excited to try this throughout the season!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'd eat the whole thing!

Sarah @ For the Love of Food said...

Truly gorgeous and just the idea I've been looking for as an entree for an Easter feast in a few weeks.

Not Quite Nigella said...

Now that is totally Autumn on a plate, look at those colours!

Anonymous said...

Lovely, and how neat that you used cheese that you made! We're on the verge of spring and warm-weather fruits and vegetables - I can't wait!

Johanna GGG said...

That looks amazing - this would be great at a medieval feast for its colour and sumptuousness

Nutmeg Nanny said...

This looks great! I have never thought to use grapes with a savory dish. I don't know why. I bet it's awesome!