28.8.11

Tarting up Tomatoes


I bought a bunch of fancy tomato plants this year from Cross Country Nurseries out in New Jersey. Plants with names like Isis Candy and Black Seaman...yes, I did buy the latter plant because of the name.

As a result, a bunch of beautiful tomatoes have been slowly covering a fence in my backyard and I've been itching to bake with them. A bunch of yellow and bright red heirlooms were sitting in my fruit basket when inspiration struck - a tart. A tomato tart with an herb crust.Tomatoes are lovely when fresh and in salads, but this is a great way to use them even when they're not in season - removing some of the moisture before baking just concentrates the flavor and makes it lovely and rich.




So what I did first was slice the tomatoes about a 1/4 inch thick, laid them out on a layer of paper towel, salted them lightly in order to bring out some of the moisture. I covered them with another layer of paper towel and let them hang out for a while.




While they were sweating away, I made my herb pie crust.

Herb Pie Crust
Ingredients1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of chilled, cubed unsalted butter
a few tablespoons of ice water
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh herbs (here I used tarragon, thyme and sage from the garden)



Directions

Mix together the flour and salt, then add the chilled butter. With a pastry mixer or two knives or a fork, work the butter into the flour until fully incorporated and the mixture is the size of large crumbs. Add the herbs and mix in some more until they are also incorporated. Add the ice water little by little, mixing until a firm dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.

For the tart itself, it was more about assembly than anything. You needed your tomatoes, pie crust, any good grated cheese and some additional herbs and seasonings.

Tomato Tart
Ingredients

1 recipe herb pie crust (see above)
4 large heirloom tomatoes, salted and drained
2/3 cup of good grated cheese (here I used smoked mozzarella)
10 sage leaves
3 sprigs of thyme, all leave removed
Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the pie crust in a tart pan for 15 mins. Remove from oven and cool.

Once the shell is cool, layer on the shredded cheese, then arrange the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle the thyme on top and layer in the sage leaves and sprinkle the pepper on top.

Bake the tart in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for another 15-20 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked through. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving. This makes about 8 servings. Enjoy!


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