Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Tart
It’s officially fall, and I’m still talking about tomatoes.
Not just talking about tomatoes; slicing them up to eat fresh, blending them up into curry sauces, slow-roasting them to put on salads and pizzas, and even occasionally baking them.
My summer CSA share of bulbs upon bulbs of fennel and baskets upon baskets of peppers has ended. But it went out with a bang. Finally, the last few weeks granted me pounds of giant, weirdly shaped, and brightly colored heirloom tomatoes.
Tomatoes are technically fruit, but I think a lot of us slot them into the vegetable category of our brains and our kitchens. Take the fact that we tend to incorporate tomatoes into more savory contexts than sweet, for example.
But for some reason the fragile, fragrant, heavy heirlooms put me in a fruit state of mind. And that’s how I decided to bake them into a tart.
(Then I ate that tart in two days flat– dinner, brunch, dinner– and that’s how I decided to bake more of them into a second identical tart.)
Don’t worry, I kept it savory.
p.s. If you’re thinking of skipping over this recipe just because you’d have to make a tart crust, read on; it’s a simple olive oil press-in crust, and I believe in you!
Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Tart
(press-in tart crust recipe adapted from Food52)
(Makes one 9- to 11-inch tart, serves 6-8)
Ingredients (for the Tart Crust):
~ 1 1/2 cups flour
~ 1/2 tsp. salt
~ 1/2 tsp. sugar
~ 1/4 cup olive oil
~ 1/4 cup canola oil
~ 2 Tbsp. milk (preferably 2% or whole)
Ingredients (for the Tomato Tart):
~ 2-3 large heirloom tomatoes (or 2 plus a handful of little Indigo Rose tomatoes)
~ 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
~ 2 Tbsp. garlic-infused olive oil (plus more for drizzling over the tart before baking)
~ 2 Tbsp. flour
~ 4-6 oz. of goat cheese, softened (at room temperature)
~ 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
~ sea salt and black pepper to taste
~ fresh thyme or lavender, chopped
~ generous sprinkling of dried Herbs de Provence mixture
How to make it:
1. Thickly slice the tomatoes, then set them in a large, shallow bowl. Add to the tomatoes: the balsamic vinegar, garlic-infused olive oil, and 2 Tbsp. of flour (or more flour if they are extra juicy). Also add several grinds of sea salt and black pepper. Gently turn the tomato slices until they are well coated in the seasonings and flour, and set aside.
- Note: If you don’t have a good store-bought garlic-infused olive oil that you like, you can use 2 Tbsp. regular olive oil, and 1 clove minced garlic for step #1. If you want to make your own garlic-infused oil, please read up on how to do that safely first, in order to avoid the risk of botulism.
2. Move a rack to the top third of your oven, and pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
3. Make the crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, canola oil, and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together by tossing with a fork until the dough starts to clump together. Turn out the clumps into your tart pan (or a shallow pie dish) and quickly and evenly, press the dough in to form a crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
4. Remove the crust from the fridge, and spread the softened goat cheese evenly across the bottom of the tart, taking care not to rip the unbaked crust (though you can always patch it back together if you do). Sprinkle chopped fresh herbs, like rosemary and thyme, over the goat cheese.
5. Transfer the tomatoes from the bowl to the tart crust, arranging them 2-3 slices deep over the bed of goat cheese. Sprinkle over fresh chopped herbs or Herbs de Provence and fresh ground sea salt and black pepper. Optionally drizzle over more of the garlic-infused (or regular) olive oil before baking.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the edges of the tomatoes have started to brown but before they’ve dried out too much. Let cool before serving. This tart is best eaten on the same day it’s made.