I made this savory tomato tart on a whim with no intentions of sharing the finished product. I didn’t have any particular high hopes or great plans, no fantastic recipe clipping burning a hole in my ideas binder, just a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes and two empty stomachs for inspiration. But the tomatoes were so darned pretty– yellows, reds, greens, and purples–all heaped together in a paper sack from the greenmarket, that I took a few photos. And then the cold, diced butter sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves and a small heap of flour for the crust, looked rather artful in my mini food processor (I may or may not have been hallucinating from hunger). And when the dough pulled together, soft and fragrant and all flecked with green, well, you get the point. So here it is. My thrown-together-at-the-last-second tomato tart.
Do you know what the best part is? Like so many unplanned and unfussed-about things that happen in life, it was wonderful. The tomatoes had swollen and burst in the high heat, creating small pockets of jammy sweetness. Despite the rivulets of thick tomato juices, the crust maintained its crispness and crumbled like a savory cookie with every bite. To make it a meal, I topped each sliver with wild arugula tossed in garlic vinaigrette and served it alongside zucchini pancakes–like summer latkes–swapping heartier, earthy potatoes for the for the light, fresh flavor of green squash, dolloped with lemon pepper yogurt. Judging by the second (Ok, it was more like third) empty plate of a certain curly-haired man next to me, I do believe I’ll be adding this dinner to my permanent summer supper repertoire, along with the spicy fish tacos I threw together last year and pasta with a no-cook tomato sauce, that, frankly, I can’t believe has not made it up here yet. I must dig that clipping out, pronto.
As tart dough, goes, this one was pretty basic. I adapted this recipe by adding a fistful of chopped fresh thyme and some grated Pecorino Romano cheese to give some oomph to an otherwise blasé crust. Blitzed in a food processor with some ice water, the dough comes together quickly. The dough must chill for a bit in the refrigerator before you roll it out and once it’s in the pan. This is probably the most time-consuming part of the process as the rest is pretty snappy. After 30 minutes or so, it is ready for rolling and pressing into a buttered tart pan.
I mounded the tomatoes, generously salted and olive-oiled, into the unbaked crust. That’s right, no blind baking needed! I found that the crust browned in the oven long before the tomatoes were hot enough to burst open and bombard the crust with their tomato-ey juices. Nifty trick, right? If you will be using whole-cut tomatoes instead, I would definitely consider baking the crust first.
You can get more creative here, add some ricotta or fresh mozzarella if you’re in the mood. Perhaps you have some fresh basil or other herbs in your garden (Please know that if you have either fresh basil readily available to your whims or you have your own garden, I’m terribly jealous). And that’s really all there is to it; Summer simplicity at its best.
Do you have any easy go-to summer recipes?
Cherry Tomato Tart with Cheesy Herbed Crust
Ingredients–Crust adapted from Recipe.com
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4 tbsp ice water
2 pints cherry tomatoes (a variety of colors looks best)
2-3 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter. Using short pulses, process until the mixture resembles oatmeal. Add thyme and cheese, and pulse again until combined. Add the ice water and pulse quickly until the mixture begins to come together but don’t let it actually form a ball.
Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured surface and gather it into a ball with your hands. Gently flatten the ball into a smooth disk about 1-1/2 inches thick and wrap it in plastic or foil. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll, at least 1 hour.