A light summer tart

Flaky pastry, savory cheese, and caramelized onions satisfy in this simple appetizer

Photo: Maria Stordahl Nelson Jarlsberg is the star of this caramelized onion and vegetable tart.

Photo: Maria Stordahl Nelson
Jarlsberg is the star of this caramelized onion and vegetable tart.

Maria Stordahl Nelson
Seattle, Wash.

Savory tarts, ones that typically feature nutty delicious cheese, are some of my most favorite indulgences. When summertime rolls around and I simply cannot justify making a big cheesy, eggy quiche, I have no trouble finding my way around a light and simple-to-prepare tart. A smattering of cheese on top, some caramelized vegetables beneath, and the crispy crunch of puff pastry are all that’s needed to satisfy my craving.

Jarlsberg cheese is one such cheese that finds its way into most dishes in my kitchen in some way or another. It was the go-to cheese in my parents’ household growing up, and I’ll admit there was a time when I’d had my fill of it. I wandered away from it, in my early 20s, all enamored with goat cheese and Danish blue, but like most things, I’ve come around to realizing that there is really no replacement for it, nor is there a cheese that’s its equal. It bumps along beautifully with vegetables of all kinds, sweet and salty meats, and is especially delicious sliced thinly, straight from the fridge with an icy glass of white wine. Milder and less astringent than other Swiss varieties, it pleases all the varying palates in my household.

Andreas Viestad in his book Kitchen of Light shares a delicious version of this tart, with simply cheese and onion on puff pastry. It’s a delicious recipe and one that we’ve enjoyed often, but like most things, I’ve come to appreciate the little tweaks and variations on the theme that I’ve created here even more. This variant has a few more layers of flavor, and in keeping with the Nordic theme, I’ve caramelized Brussels sprouts (or cabbage if you prefer), added a thin layer of mustard, and used a little less cheese to change it up and make it suit our tastes perfectly. It creates a delicious light summertime meal when served alongside a bowl of soup or salad.

Photo: Maria Stordahl Nelson

Photo: Maria Stordahl Nelson

Jarlsberg and Onion Tart
Adapted from Onion Pie with Jarlsberg and Thyme from Kitchen of Light by Andreas Viestad
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
½ lb. Jarlsberg cheese, grated
2 medium onions, sliced ¼” thick
2 cups sliced cabbage or shaved Brussels sprouts
1 tsp. sugar
3 tbsps. butter, divided
1 tbsp. brown mustard
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll puff pastry into a 12 x 9” rectangle. Trim edges and dock the pastry all over with a fork. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large skillet, melt 1 ½ tbsps. of the butter over medium heat. Add the cabbage and/or Brussels sprouts and sauté until caramelized and wilted. Season with salt and pepper to desired taste. Set aside. In the same skillet melt the additional 1 ½ tbsps. butter. Add the onions to the pan and sprinkle the sugar over the top. Sauté the onions until caramelized and golden brown.

Thinly spread the mustard on top of the pastry, leaving a ½” border along the edges. Evenly sprinkle the cabbage, onions, and cheese over the top. Lay the sprigs of thyme over the top and return the tart to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese is melted. Sprinkle additional fresh thyme over the top of the tart if desired. Cut into squares and serve alongside soup or salad, or as an appetizer. Serves 4-6 as an appetizer.

Maria Stordahl Nelson is a Seattle-area food writer, photographer, and recipe developer. She shares her love of all things sweet, savory, and sometimes Nordic at www.pinkpatisserie.net.

This article originally appeared in the July 29, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.