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Puff Pastry Part I: Savory Sun-Dried Tomato and Onion Tart

This tart is red and white, and sure to chase away any blues.

Perfect for the Fourth of July, isn’t it?

“Sun-Dried Tomato and Onion Tart” is an explosion of flavors on a crisp, buttery foundation of puff pastry. The recipe, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal in March of this year, is by that Quebecois madman, Chef Martin Picard. He’s best known for his outsized personality, his over-the-top interpretations of classic Canadian dishes (poutine with foie gras, anyone?) and for foisting a litany of rich foie dishes on Anthony Bourdain at his Au Pied de Cochon restaurant in Montreal until the “No Reservations” host practically had to cry, “uncle!”

Picard’s tart won’t cause you to do that. Instead, it’s layered with flavors: onions caramelized until they’re nearly as sweet as candy, fragrant thyme, nutty Gruyere, a dash of sharp Dijon, and sun-dried tomatoes to add just enough acid so you don’t feel too weighed down.

For the foundation of the tart, I used a new all-butter puff pastry by Pastry Chef Pascal Rigo’s Bay Area-based La Boulange. The puff pastry, of which I received samples, comes frozen in two 8-ounce sheets. A box is $8.99 at Whole Foods markets.

Just let the puff pastry thaw completely before using. You want it soft and malleable.

Its taste is quite buttery and wonderful.

And with these rich, nuanced toppings, it’s bound to make any day feel as carefree as a holiday.

Martin Picard’s Sun-Dried Tomato and Onion Tart

(Serves 6 to 8 )

2 sheets thawed puff pastry, 9 by 9 inches each

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups thinly sliced onions

4-6 sprigs fresh thyme

Salt, to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 cup grated Gruyere

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place sheets of puff pastry on a baking tray (if pastry sheets touch, use two trays). Prick surface with a fork, leaving a 1/2 inch border untouched. Bake until pastry bottom is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare onions. Set a large saute pan over medium heat. Swirl in oil and add onions, thyme and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn golden and sweet, about 15 minutes. Season with salt.

In a small bowl, mix mustard with cream. Once pastry is slightly cool, return it to baking tray and spread mustard-cream sauce over top, leaving a 1/2-inch border untouched. Scatter half of cheese over sauce and top with onions. Add remaining cheese and tomatoes over top.

Return trays to oven and bake until cheese melts and browns in spots, about 15 minutes.

From a Martin Picard recipe in the March 10-11, 2012 Wall Street Journal

Tomorrow: Puff Pastry Part II — Slim Apricot Tarts

More Recipes Perfect for the Fourth of July: Gordon’s Red Potato Salad with Whole-Grain Mustard Dressing

And: Corn, Tomato and Scallion Salad

And: Kokkari’s Sweet Green Peas & Feta

And: Romaine Hearts with Miso-Mustard Dressing

And: Martha Stewart’s Strawberry Galette with Basil Whipped Cream

And: Guilt-Free (Or Almost) Strawberry Shortcakes