Fennel Goat’s Cheese, Tomato and Samphire Tart

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I love my local shop but do think they should change their strapline to ‘Let Us Surprise You!’ The surprise being that they have run out of semi-skimmed milk but do have preserved lemons or have no fish whatsoever but shelves full of venison sausages. And so it was that earlier in the week I went in to buy some spring onions and left with a packet of samphire. (And no, I don’t live in some very chi-chi area of London where we all breakfast on crayfish and acai berries, just in case that’s what you’re thinking; I just have a weird, if rather lovely, local shop.)

I wasn’t sure if I’d ever eaten samphire before but I’d certainly never cooked with it. I had a nibble and it was fresh and salty-tasting, with a texture a bit like young asparagus. It was certainly a shoe-in for fish dishes but this isn’t a fish blog and I still haven’t got my head around possible cheese-fish combos (hurl). So, inspired by a recent recipe from edibletcetera across the water, I decided to go for a tart and to pair the samphire with equally seasonal tomatoes and a lovely summery goat’s cheese.

I wrote about Pablo Cabrito a few weeks ago and was a big fan of its fresh, lemony taste. So when I discovered there was a version rolled in fennel, available only at Paxton and Whitfield, it seemed only right to make the Other Half traipse halfway across heatwave London in his lunch hour to get me some. Here it is, yum:

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Ingredients

1 x 320g pack of ready-rolled puff pastry (unless you have substantially more hours in the day than me and want to make your own)
1 small red onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
2 large beefsteak tomatoes
10-12 cherry tomatoes
Soft goat’s cheese (as much or as little as you like)
10-12 stalks of samphire
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220˚C / 200˚C fan assisted / Gas Mark 7.

Remove the pastry from the packet and unroll it onto a baking tray. Score a line about 2cm from the edges, all around the pastry. This will make the edges puff up nicely.

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Gently fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil with plenty of salt and pepper. Make sure that they don’t burn; you just want them to soften. Slice the beefsteak tomatoes horizontally so that the seeds don’t all fall out and cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add them all in batches to the frying pan; fry them for a minute or two, turning once, so that they soften and get covered in the oil, garlic and onion. Remove from the pan and arrange the tomato mixture on the pastry. Season with salt and pepper and glug some olive oil over the top.

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Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and then take it out and add gobbets of goat’s cheese and arrange the stalks of samphire. Bake for a further 5 minutes.

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Serve with a green salad. This is a lovely tart. Get the best tomatoes you can; the beefsteak ones had a wonderful rich flavour whilst the yellow cherries tasted almost like peaches, they were so sweet. If you can’t get hold of Fennel Pablo Cabrito then I would suggest adding a teaspoon of fennel seeds when you fry the onions and garlic.

I went to the shop this morning and noticed they had Sea Aster (I am not kidding). I haven’t the foggiest what it is or what you do with it but, hey, watch this space…

I am adding this recipe to July’s Cheese, Please! Recipe Challenge, hosted by yours truly here.

Fromage Homage

Because I cook with samphire and tomatoes, I am also adding this to Ren Behan’s Simple and In Season Blog Event.

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14 Comments

Filed under Cheese Recipes

14 responses to “Fennel Goat’s Cheese, Tomato and Samphire Tart

  1. Haha, I looove the description of your local shop – it must be such fun to browse there! I also think it’s wonderful that you (and presumably your fellow locals) are dutifully buying their random produce and subbing weird and wonderful meat and vegetables for the bog-standard fare that most of the rest of us come home with! 😀 The tart looks yummy. 🙂 And I wager that you would definitely not be stumped by the “mystery” veg boxes that so many people complain about (when they sign up to veg box home delivery services). x

    • Haha, I do have a weekly veg box but am usually stumped by the quantity more than anything else. And there’s only so much you can do to persuade two under-fives to eat kale, Chinese cabbage or spinach…

  2. Looks and sounds delish. Wonder if you can pan grill samphire and toss in balsamic, just like skinny asparagus…and get an equally tasty result?

  3. Pingback: July’s Cheese, Please! – soft goat’s cheese | Fromage Homage

  4. This is such a gorgeous combination of ingredients. I adore goats cheese with fennel and tomatoes, but I’ve never eaten samphire. I’ve read a lot about it. I’d love to try it for myself some day, but I doubt that any of my local stores would have that kind of ‘surprise’! Haha, I don’t know whether your store’s habit is a good or a bad thing. I guess it’s nice to have to improvise and try new things, but I think it’d frustrate me after a while 😉 Thanks for this lovely recipe! xx

    • Yes, it can be kind of annoying to want some potatoes but only see yams but on the other hand, for such a little shop, you can often find what you need. You could substitute young asparagus for the samphire and I’m sure it would be just as nice. I made the same tart yesterday with tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto for a school picnic. The adults liked it but the kids all thought it was pizza so were horrified to then find ‘real tomatoes’ on it 😉

      • Hahaha! “Real tomatoes”! That’s hilarious. But I think I was pretty much the same as a kid… I liked canned pineapple better than fresh, and that plastic Kraft cheese instead of the real deal (shock horror! I can hardly believe it now!). I might try the recipe with young asparagus, if I can find some. We’re getting Thai imported asparagus in Aus right now. Darn winter, it’s not good for fresh produce 😦

  5. You’re lucky to find samphire in the shops. Here it’s protected as it has been over harvested. I’ve seen it growing all over Greek Islands and Corsica, but it’s not generally eaten there. Your tart sounds lovely. Look forward to hearing about sea aster 🙂

  6. Pingback: Simple and in Season June Event Round Up (Part Two) - Ren Behan

  7. Thanks for entering this to Simple and in Season!

  8. Pingback: July’s Cheese, Please! Recipe Round Up – Soft Goat’s Cheese | Fromage Homage

  9. Pingback: Eight Cheeses in One Day… | Fromage Homage

  10. Pingback: Roasted Chestnuts, Root Vegetables and Green’s of Glastonbury Smoked Cheddar Cheese Tart | Fromage Homage

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