There is some construction happening at our apartment building. Apparently, it will last from October until February which seems like an awfully long time to me. There is scaffolding outside every window and the construction workers have begun appearing on our patio, forcing me to leave the blinds shut so I don’t feel like an animal at the zoo. It’s a little uncomfortable, but in true Japanese fashion, the construction workers stop by every day to inform us that they will be working. Isn’t that polite?
This afternoon, I was just drifting off to sleep for what was looking to be an excellent nap (something I value more than with only 6 1/2 weeks left before the arrival of our little one) when suddenly the banging and drilling began. For 5 days they’ve just been setting up scaffolding but today, at the exact time I wanted to a take a nap, they decided to start the loud, obnoxious stuff. I tried to ignore it and go to sleep, but when that didn’t work after almost half an hour, I gave in. Rolling my bulging belling off the couch and groggily standing up, I decided the next best thing to taking a nap would be to bake something. Since dinner hadn’t been at the forefront of my mind yet, I decided to make a savory tart.
This simple, rustic potato tart is what came out of my sleepy frustration. And I have to say that it made missing my nap worth it. The tender, creamy potatoes inside a flaky crust made the perfect meal for this mild October evening. With my apartment window open (after the construction workers left, of course) I sat down and enjoyed not one, but two pieces of this humble meal. The red onion added a beautiful pop of color and a sweetness that brightened the flavor of the potatoes. A slightly salty, nutty bed of parmesan cheese made the ideal base on which the potatoes were arranged. And the crust, slightly modified from Smitten Kitchen, became a beautiful golden brown in the oven.
If you’re looking for something quick, easy, and affordable for dinner tonight, try this potato tart with a simple green salad. While I enjoyed my meal with a big glass of milk (this baby loves his milk already- I can’t drink enough!) you may prefer to sip on a crisp white wine or a mellow red with your slice. Either way, I know you’ll be happy you took the short amount of time to make it!
Simple Rustic Potato Tart
Feeds approximately 4 people
For the crust (slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen):
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I store mine in the fridge, but if you don’t, chill it for 30 minutes in the freezer)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup plain yogurt (full fat)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water for brushing
For the filling:
3-4 small/medium sized white potatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter
parsley, for garnish (or other fresh herb)
First, make the crust. Use a whisk to combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter to the flour mixture and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to work the butter into the flour until it is crumbly and the butter pieces are not bigger than small peas. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (yogurt, lemon juice and ice water). Add them to the flour/butter mixture and combine with your hands until the dough just comes together. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Put the potato slices in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and let cook for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are just fork tender but not falling apart. Strain the potato slices and allow to cool on a large plate or cutting board.
When the dough has chilled for an hour, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 10-12 inches in diameter. Gently drape the dough over your rolling pin and transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese in the center of the dough, leaving a 2 inch border. Arrange the potato slices on top of the cheese, using a paper towel to blot any very wet pieces dry. Pour the melted butter over the top and fold the edges around the tart. Brush the edges with the egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Top with the red onion slices and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Garnish with the parsley and serve.