Summer. Tomatoes. Summer tomatoes. Summer tomatoes summer tomatoes summer tomatoes. The two words belong together, do they not?
With a high of 101° in Charlottesville today (real feel 115° to 120°...um, when did we move to the equator?!?), I am not finding a whole lot to be happy with Summer about at the moment. Except for tomatoes. We are overrun with summer's favorite fruit right now...big ones, little ones, red ones, orange ones. All picture frames and candles have been removed from my dining room sideboard to make way for our bounty from the farm. It is the official tomato storage and ripening spot in our house, a constantly revolving inventory of heirloom varieties. I've made pints of marinara to store away for winter, and have plans to can soups and salsas in the coming weeks. But still, my very favorite way to consume a perfectly ripe tomato is thickly sliced, with sea salt. It just doesn't get much better than that. Unless you sandwich one of those slices between two hunks of bread with some bacon...that's pretty darn good too.
Most of our meals this week involved, you guessed it, tomatoes. In sauce over pasta, in salsa on fish tacos, sliced with fresh mozzarella on pizza, the 'T' in our BLTs. And this lovely, simple, rustic tart. It breaks my 'don't turn on the oven' rule, but at least it isn't the stove top.
First, I have to say again how much I love Jack Bishop's book, A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. I have shared several recipes from there, here, and cannot praise it enough. We have been thrilled with every single dish we've made between its covers, and love how simple and quick they always are. This tart is no exception. The crust dough comes together beautifully and is so easy to work. The filling ingredients are simple. The whole tart is finished with just 15 minutes of prep time, which I love. If the crust weren't so butter-full we'd have this meal multiple days each week.
Be sure to only make this tart when tomatoes are at their peak...a pink and grainy 'mater just wouldn't do...
Tomato + Goat Cheese Tart with Rosemary Crust
from A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen, by Jack Bishop
- 1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 4-5 tbsp ice water
- 6 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled (about 1-1/3 cups)
- 3 medium, delicious tomatoes, cored, sliced crosswise 1/4-inch thick, and blotted dry between paper towels*
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- salt + freshly ground black pepper
- First, make the crust dough (about 1 hour before you're ready to assemble the tart). Place the flour, salt, and rosemary in a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs, about ten 1-second pulses. Add the water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse briefly after each addition. After 4 tbsp of water have been added, process the dough for several seconds to see if it will come together. If not, add the remaining 1 tbsp water. Process just until the dough comes together in a rough ball. Do not overprocess or the dough will not be flakey. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and knead briefly to for a smooth ball. Flatten the dough into a 5-inch disk and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Note: My dough was very sticky with just 4 tbsp of water, so I wound up adding some flour to help it to come together. The final dough should be smooth and supple before refrigerating. Also, if you don't have a food processor, you can still make the dough by using forks or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture, then add your water.
- Move an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 375°.
- Unwrap the chilled dough and roll it into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Lay the dough over a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, fitting the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Run the rolling pin over the top of the tart pan to trim the excess dough. Prick the bottom of the tart shell all over with a fork.
- Finally, fill and bake the tart. Scatter the goat cheese evenly across the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in two rings, one around the outside edge of the tart pan and another in the center, overlapping them slightly. Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake until the edges of the crust pull away from the sides of the pan and are golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool the tart on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Cut the tart into wedges and serve. Also, it is really good at room temperature so feel free to make this ahead and let it cool for several hours.
* To dry tomatoes, lay 3 layers of paper towels on a flat surface. Place your tomato slices on the paper towels, and then cover with 3 more layers of towels. Gently press your hands over the tomatoes to extract as much liquid as you can without crushing the tomatoes. When you lift the slices from the towels, many of the seeds should stay behind. This will keep your tart crust from becoming soggy.