Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. This is the time of year I have them coming out my ears, between our CSA, the plants in our backyard and the irresistible U-Pick events at Full Circle Farm, which is just down the street. That’s okay, though! I love tomato season, and I’ve got plenty of delicious things to do with those beauties.
In the past couple of weeks, we’ve made a couple of types of tomato tart, and both were awesome. Our old standby, a tomato and mozzarella tart, is amazing with those beautiful heirloom tomatoes that come in our CSA box. It’s so good, in fact, that I have a hard time convincing the hubby that we should do anything else with our bounty. We also tried a goat cheese tomato tart, the recipe for which was passed down by a friend with excellent taste.* Both were amazing in their own way, and such a great way to showcase tomatoes at the peak of their ripeness.
*Leslie is totally my food role model. She and her husband Bob have introduced us to such gems as arugula salad with walnuts, Roquefort, figs and balsamic vinaigrette, frittatas with LOTS of cheese (Bob’s secret) and blood orange marmalade.
So, if you have as many tomatoes around your kitchen as I do, or even if you don’t (go get some while the getting’s good!), try one or both of these out. They’ll become staples of tomato season, I promise.
Tomato and Mozzarella Tart
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, July 2003
Flour for work surface
1 box frozen puff pastry (1.1 pound), thawed in box in refrigerator overnight
1 large egg, beaten
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1 pound tomatoes (about 3 to 4 medium), cored and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425°. Dust work surface with flour and unfold both pieces puff pastry onto work surface. Form one large sheet overlapping the two pieces in the center by about an inch. Brush the lower part with egg and press together. Cut a one-inch strip from each of the sides of the tart, brush the edges with egg, and press the cut sections over, so that each edge has two layers. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over shell; using fork, uniformly and thoroughly poke holes in shell. Bake 13 to 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°; continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack; increase oven temperature to 425°.
While shell bakes, place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes. Combine garlic, olive oil, and pinch each salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over warm (or cool, if made ahead) baked shell. Shingle tomato slices widthwise on top of cheese (about 4 slices per row); brush tomatoes with garlic oil. Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes, sprinkle with basil, slide onto cutting board or serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.
Once you’ve tried that out, enjoy its richer cousin with a nice herb salad. Just try not to think about how much butter there is in it. It’s better that way.
Goat Cheese and Tomato Tart
Adapted from a recipe from Gourmet, September 1998
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water
pie weights or raw rice for weighting crust
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
7 ounces mild soft goat cheese, softened
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, well softened
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes (preferably red) or just thick slices from small-ish tomatoes
Cut butter into pieces.
In a food processor, pulse together flour, cornmeal, and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water and pulse until incorporated and mixture just forms a dough. Press dough evenly into bottom and up sides of a tart pan or pie pan. Chill crust about 20 minutes, or until firm.
While crust is chilling, preheat oven to 375°F.
Line crust with foil and fill with pie weights or raw rice. Bake crust in lower third of oven until edge is set, 10 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights or rice and bake crust 5 minutes more, or until just dry. Leave oven on and cool crust in pan on a rack (crust may crack slightly). Crust may be made 1 day ahead and kept, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature.
Chop basil. In a bowl, whisk together basil and remaining custard ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
Pour custard into crust, spreading evenly. Halve tomatoes and arrange, cut sides up, in one layer on custard, pressing lightly into custard. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper and bake tart in lower third of oven until custard is just set, 25-30 minutes. Cool tart to warm in pan on rack. Tart may be made 1 day ahead and cooled completely before being chilled, covered, in pan. Reheat tart, uncovered, in a 350°F. oven or bring to room temperature before serving.
Oh tomato season, I’ll miss you when you’re gone. That must mean it’s time to do some canning!