I pretty much love Michael Smith.
Originally, I was a wee bit thrown off by his infamous, sideways, pan-in pan-out relationship with the camera, but he has, ultimately, won me over.
The 6’7″ Food Network chef from P.E.I. is now one of my favs, and I have even learned to not only embrace, but to love, his awkward camera maneuvers.
He cooks simple, delicious, and unintimidating dishes that appeal to a variety of tastes; several of which I have both tried and really enjoyed.
My only qualm when it comes to Michael Smith is that I feel as though he has been somewhat deceptive when it comes to his Chef at Home series; for a long period of time, I genuinely (and, perhaps, naively) believed that he was cooking in his own home kitchen, whipping up delights for Rachel and Gabe. Little did I know that I was being duped. The beautiful “home” by the water is, in fact, not his own, but, rather, a rental property; rented to film his series.
My feelings of disappointment and broken trust began to heal, however, when I found out that Chef Michael Smith’s P.E.I. “home” is available for summer rentals, and that my colleague stayed on that very property last summer. Imagine that! Needless to say, next summer, Anthony and I will undoubtedly be renting and enjoying our week-long stay in Michael’s “home”; filming our very own Chef at Home TV series in the kitchen with which we have become so well acquainted. Ohhh, it’s going to be good.
Michael, we’re cool: you’re forgiven for having deceived me.
To commemorate our healed relationship, a while back, I cooked up his tomato onion tarts, and they were, not only a cinch, but also delish.
Tomato Onion Tarts
Adapted from Michael Smith
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
3 plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
Grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the oil and water and stir until combined. Pat into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for half an hour.
3. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in the olive oil until they are golden brown and caramelized. Start over a medium high heat, but gradually turn the heat down as they begin to brown.
4. Lightly flour your hands, the crust, the rolling pin and your work surface. Divide the dough into four, roll out the crusts, and press them into four individual tart pans.
5. Spread onions into bottom of shell.
6. Fan the tomatoes on top of the onions.
7. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until pastry is golden and crisp and tomatoes are soft.
*If you don’t have tart pans at your disposal, fret not. You can merely form your pastry into individual galettes! Roll out your crust, top with onions, tomatoes, and cheese (leaving an inch-wide border) and fold up the edges.