Every kind of tomato tart, with a semolina crust

Every kind of tomato tart

Is there any anxiety in life more pleasant than that of having too many tomatoes? I think not! I look forward to this moment all year long. I went to the CSA last week and picked the beautiful little golden tomatoes, the tiny bright orange tomatoes, the big green sauce tomatoes. The next morning we picked up our CSA box and … even MORE TOMATOES! My counter is overflowing with tomatoes, the garden is overgrown with basil, and I’m overjoyed at the over abundance. Isaac dispatched the cherry tomatoes in no time – he eats them like candy. I have so many fiendish plans for the rest of the tomatoes. Be warned, I’ll be pelting you with tomato recipes all week!

Fresh tomato tart

The tomatoes are so pretty, in all their various shapes and sizes and colors, that the first thing I wanted to make was a simple tart to showcase them in all their glory. The wondrous trinity of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil is combined here, elegantly packed into a crunchy semolina crust. I kept everything very simple and spare, so that the tomatoes themselves would really shine. They’re lovely here – cooked long enough to be soft and juicy, but not so long that they’re mushy. You can taste the subtle difference in each type of tomato in every bite of this tart. This tart was a breeze to put together. I made the crust before work, and it cooked in about half an hour. Simple, quick, pretty, and delicious. And gone! We ate the whole thing in one sitting.

Here’s Freddy McKay with Love is a Treasure. And so are september tomatoes! (I love this song!)

THE CRUST

1 cup flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 t salt
1 t thyme
freshly ground pepper
1 stick butter – frozen (1/2 cup)
ice water (about 1/2 cup)

Combine the flours, pepper, salt and thyme and mix well. Grate in the frozen butter, stirring about half way through, and then again at the end. Stir with a big fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add enough ice water to pull everything together into a workable dough. Knead for about half a minute, to be sure the butter is incorporated. Wrap in foil and leave in the fridge to chill for at least half an hour.

THE CUSTARD

1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh basil, loosely packed, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 cup grated mozzarella
pinch of salt, grind of pepper

Combine the egg, milk and basil in a food processor, and process till smooth. Stir in the cheese and season with a bit of salt and pepper.

TO ASSEMBLE

Select a variety of tomatoes – grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes. If it’s more than about an inch big, slice it into thin slices. If the tomatoes are very seedy or juicy, give them a gentle squeeze, or coax the seeds out with a knife-tip.

Preheat the oven to 400. Roll the tart dough to be about 1/4 inch thick, and press it into your tart pan. Trim the scraps, and bake them on a sheet as Isaac crackers!

Pre-bake the tart shell for about ten minutes, till it looks firm and un-shiny. If it starts to brown, take it out of the oven.

Pour the egg/milk/basil/cheese mixture into the tart shell, and try to evenly distribute the cheese. Arrange the tomatoes prettily on top.

Turn the oven up to 425. Bake the tart until it’s golden and puffed, and the tomatoes are bright but just wilted – about 20 minutes. I put mine on the top shelf of the oven for the last five minutes or so.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before you serve.

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2 thoughts on “Every kind of tomato tart, with a semolina crust

  1. This looks wonderful and we’re having trouble eating tomatoes fast enough, all recipes are welcome. I have about 6-8 varieties so this will work well. Did you see my tomato post at the Spill last week? ‘Twas lovely.

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