Thyme and Goat Cheese Tart Topped with Mixed Tender Greens in Champagne Vinaigrette

Thyme-and-Goat-Cheese-Tart-With-Mixed-Tender-Greens-in-Champagne-VinaigretteThis isn’t exactly how we eat around our home, putting salad on top of a cheese tart. Yet, as swank as this appeared, our “Thyme and Goat Cheese Tart Topped with Mixed Tender Greens in Champagne Vinaigrette” (whew, the name alone is a mouthful) was neither pretentious nor weird. This was the salad course during our “Date Night In Wine Country” class at LA’s Chef’s Inc. cooking school.

You need a tart pan – the type where the bottom lifts out from the rim. And don’t be put off by the number of steps, it’s still simple to make and so pretty.

There is a lot of flavor going on in this tart; a sliver goes a long way.  Having JUST watched a TV show on California goat cheese, you need to buy it fresh and use it quickly.  And by the looks on the faces of classmate David (left) and Larry, you would think the vinaigrette was a challenge to make but don’t be fooled, it’s easy.


Thyme and Goat Cheese Tart Topped with Mixed Tender Greens in Champagne Vinaigrette

Recipe by Chef Diane Brown, author of The Seduction Cookbook

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold and cut in small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped thyme


  • 2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch sugar
  • 3 cups mixed tender greens, like baby spinach, arugula, baby romaine

In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt, then add butter and pulse until the butter pieces are very small, like grains of rice. Turn out the mixture into a large bowl and sprinkle 3 Tbsp. ice water over it. Mix together gently with your fingertips. Gather the dough together into a ball, flatten it into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for about half an hour.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface, to 11 or 12 inches round, being sure not to overwork the dough. Drape the dough over a 9-inch tart pan, pressing it into the pan and removing the excess dough. Prick the bottom all over with a fork and put the dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Place a piece of parchment on top of the dough and fill with pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment and pie weights. Return the tart shell to the oven and bake until the crust is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove and cool. With a whisk or in a mixer, mix the egg, goat cheese, yogurt, salt and pepper until smooth. Reduce the heat to 400 degrees F. Gently fold the thyme into the goat cheese mixture. Spread the mixture into the tart shell. Bake the tart until the filling is set and just starting to turn golden on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Combine vinegar and Champagne, and whisk in olive oil at a slow drizzle. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Toss greens with dressing, and top tart with greens. Slice into 8 servings.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Table Scraps October 15, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Sounds like my kind of recipe!! I have had problems in the past finding Champagne vinegar at my local grocery, but found it at upscale grocers. Well worth finding too.

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