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This sophisticated little tart of tomatoes, peppers, olives, onions and Cheddar cheese is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. We exaggerate not; everyone who has ever laid eyes on it ooohs and aaahs, and then requests the recipe! If you can't find a yellow bell pepper (or don't want to buy one), substitute a red or green one instead, because the pepper really adds a pleasant note of sweetness. Also, try to find longer, rather than plumper, plum tomatoes so that the pepper and tomato strips are of similar lengths. A green salad, a crusty baguette and a glass of white wine round out the meal with élan.
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) cold water, approximately
3 medium-to-large yellow onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Cheddar cheese
1 yellow bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
3 medium plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips and seeded
16 whole kalamata olives
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried crumbled oregano
Crust: Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with two knives, a pastry blender or a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture begins to hold together. Gather the dough into a ball (it'll be nice and smooth), flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, start to prepare the filling by cooking the onions in the olive oil in a heavy skillet until softened but not mushy, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a 12 x 12-inch square on a lightly floured work surface. Very lightly grease a 9 x 9-inch square pan and transfer the rolled-out dough to the pan. The dough should come 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan; trim any excess. Roll the dough down 3/4 to 1-inch all around the border, and crimp the top edge decoratively between your fore finger and thumb; then prick the crust in several places with a fork and prebake it for about 5 minutes in a preheated 375°F oven.
Assembly: Cover the bottom of the cooled pre-baked crust with the onions. Sprinkle on the Cheddar cheese. Alternate strips of pepper and tomato in three vertical rows atop the cheese; you should come out with about the right amount, but a little more or less won't hurt. Arrange or scatter the olives over the tart. (If you'd rather use pitted ones, that's fine; some of us think it's more fun to exercise our tongues!) Grind on the black pepper and sprinkle on the dried oregano.
Baking: Bake the tart in a preheated 375°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven, and let cool for several minutes before serving warm. (It can be served at room temperature, too.) Yield: 1 tart, 12 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (1 piece, 162g): 216 cal, 14g fat, 6g protein, 15g complex carbohydrates, 2g dietary fiber, 36mg cholesterol, 315mg sodium, 161mg potassium, 240mg vitamin A, 42mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 150mg calcium, 107mg phosphorus.