Winter’s back is broken. There’s no doubt about it. A week ago it was almost 60˚, and bare ground now roughly balances the areas still covered in snow. Liquid water is a not-uncommon sight outside during the day. The birds are beginning to go apeshit every morning. And the smell of soil and plants is emerging to mingle with the warming air. I don’t suggest that we aren’t due for several more beat-downs, but there’s no mistaking the signs. And I am happy.
Now I’m the type of guy who starts wearing shorts in March in the hopes that I will fool Nature into warming up faster, but this time around it was a purely culinary nudge. We had a lucky confluence of ingredients in the fridge, and I had a half-recipe of crust left from making a birthday apple tart for a friend down the road. And we loves us some savory tarts.
So, in no particular order, I layered the following onto a thinly-rolled (duh) crust: caramelized onions with lemon thyme and balsamic vinegar, the very last of some canned diced tomatoes, leftover steamed kale, basil pesto, kalamata olives, pine nuts, and some log chèvre. After about 40 minutes in the oven (I don’t usually blind bake these first) it was simultaneously a preview of the best of summer and a big upraised middle finger to the tattered husk of winter that’s skulking away like Dick Cheney to the undisclosed bondage dungeon that he time-shares with Bill O’Reilly.