It’s been years since we had much of a garden. From our years as market gardeners, when we had any vegetable we wanted, to the bakery years when we had any kind of bread we could think of but no garden, we are now back to the garden intended to provide food for our own table. In the market years we carefully tended 600 tomato plants, all heirloom varieties. But of course then there was no time to do much preserving. By the time the end of market season rolled around we were tired of the whole thing and happy to let the deer help themselves to whatever might be left out there. It’s been a welcome renewal this year to find we still enjoy the harvest, especially the tomatoes. Such a versatile food! The cherry tomatoes we all snack on as we pick the rest, the prolific romas for sauces and roasting, the beautiful shades of pink, orange, red, yellow and even green that are so much fun to show off fresh — I’d forgotten how much I like tomato season.
A few days ago, while searching for my vegetarian chili recipe, I came across the roasted tomato tart I used to make. Tomatoes are in the oven now, splashed with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh rosemary and sea salt, though you could use basil, thyme or oregano instead. It’s starting to smell really good in here.
If you don’t want the bother of making a crust you can easily substitute frozen puff pastry or pie crust. Whatever kind of crust you choose it should be baked before filling. The cheese can be any kind you like, or a mix, as long as it melts well. And lastly, use whatever herbs you like. I like the combination of oregano, basil and thyme with rosemary.
Can’t wait for supper.
— Joan, 29 September 2017
Roasted Tomato Tart
For the crust:
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 4 tablespoons ice water
Blend flour and salt in food processor. Add butter a few pieces at a time, pulsing till mixture is the consistency of coarse meal. Add water a tablespoon at a time till the dough forms moist clumps. Gather dough into a ball and flatten. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. After dough has cooled, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll out to a thickness of 1/8″. Transfer to tart pan, trim and turn overhang in so the sides are double thickness, trim excess at top by rolling over edge with rolling pin, and prick bottom with fork. Freeze for 15 minutes, then line with foil or parchment and fill with pie weights. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes; remove lining and weights and bake another 7-10 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden. Cool completely.
To roast the tomatoes:
- 2 pounds (about 18) fresh plum tomatoes
- olive oil
- fresh herbs — rosemary, basil, oregano, or thyme
- sea salt
Wash and cut the tomatoes in half. Gently squeeze and remove the seeds. Arrange cut-side up on parchment paper in a large baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh herbs and sea salt. Bake at 375ºF for 40 minutes, turn oven up to 400ºF for another 20 minutes. Turn off oven and let the tomatoes sit for 10 minutes before removing. Allow to cool before using in the tart.
For the filling:
- 3 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese
- 6 ounces Muenster or other meltable cheese, shredded
- 2 pounds (about 18) roasted plum tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil, or 1 teaspoon dried
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
Spread mascarpone or cream cheese over cooled crust. Arrange tomato halves over cheese. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and garlic, then Parmesan, ending with shredded Muenster or alternative cheese. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.