Summer Tomato, Basil and Cheese Tart
Nothing angers me like a pink tomato on my plate. I seriously get livid when I order a sandwich or a salad and see an unripe sitting on top of my meal. I want to walk back into the kitchen and ask the chef Why Bother? Unripe tomatoes aren’t juicy. They have no flavor. If a chef can’t get her hands on a ripe one, why not just leave it off?
In the winter, we don’t eat a lot of fresh tomatoes in our house. But in the summer we make up for lost time in a big way. Firstly, we drink a lot of gazpacho. But will my kid eat gazpacho? No. No, she won’t. As much as Neko loves tomatoes, she still refuses to eat soups or purees of any kind. But, she will eat the heck out of a tart.
This tomato tart is amazing. I got a tart pan just for making this tart. You can make it in a pie dish the first time around, but once you fall in love with this meal, you’ll be running out for a tart pan, too, I am sure of it.
You can switch up the cheese to find one your family likes. I’ve made it with a few different cheeses, and it’s always delicious. More delicate than a pizza, this simply filled tart is all about the taste of the fresh, juicy tomatoes combining with the tangy punch from the melted cheese.
All wrapped up in a crumbly, crunchy crust, this tart is a perfect summer meal, served with a lightly dressed green salad. It’s a summertime favorite for me.
Neko helped me make the crust. Which means that she started out mixing the ingredients together, and then wound up stuffing as much of the raw crust in her mouth as I’d allow.
But once it was cooked, she was skeptical. I mean, there was green stuff (basil) all over her beloved tomatoes and cheese. Once she picked off the basil (sigh), she was happy again. Tomatoes, cheese and crust … it’s just like a pizza. Except a little more … elegant.
Tomato, Cheese and Basil Tart
adapted from “The Humble Pie” by Teresa Kennedy
1 olive oil crust
8 oz. St. Andre, brie, or chevre (goat cheese – this is what I used this time around)
3 large, perfectly ripe tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-in. thick rounds
½ cup of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pices
3 tbsp. chopped walnuts
First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and make the crust:
Olive Oil Crust
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
7 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. milk
Stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, using a fork, until the dough forms a ball. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on a cutting board. Place the dough on top of the plastic, then put another sheet on top. Roll out the dough (while still between the sheets of plastic) with a rolling pin until it is about 1/8-in. thick and large enough to fit in a 9-in. round pie dish or tart pan.
The dough is super crumbly, so this is how I get it in the pan: Peel the top layer of plastic wrap or wax paper off the dough circle. Invert the pie or tart pan over the dough, then flip the whole cutting board over, so that the dough is on top of the pie dish. Press the dough into the dish, then peel off the remaining layer of plastic. Fix any holes in the dough with your fingers and crimp the edges. Poke several holes all over the pie crust with a fork so air can escape.
Slide the crust into the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the crust is lightly browned.
Let the crust rest outside of the oven, and increase the oven temperature to broil.
Slice the cheese (or crumble, if you are using goat cheese). Arrange the cheese and tomato slices on top of the crust, alternating between the two so you will get a taste of both with each bite.
Paint a little olive oil over the tomatoes and cheese with a pastry brush. Sprinkle the basil and walnuts over the top.
Slide the tart under the broiler and cook it 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Don’t forget about the tart! It will burn the second you turn away, I speak from experience.
Serve the tart warm, cut into wedges.