Here in New England, we are now reaping the benefits of a summer that took her sweet old time to warm up. We’ve got pounds and pounds of tomatoes! When the tomatoes finally showed up in stores and our CSA share, they surprised me! Some look so picture perfect—bright, saturated colors, with shiny, smooth skins. But then you bite into them, and they are mealy and flavorless. Others have some bruises and cracks—scarring the bright colored appearance—and they end up tasting like you just picked them out of your own garden. So for those of us who can’t resist that ten pound box of ugly, beat up tomatoes from the farm stand because it’s “just such a good deal!” this one’s for you. This simple recipe doesn’t need anything special, just really good tomatoes. Come to think of it, we never really need much more than that.
Makes about 6-8 servings
If your tomatoes are damaged, just cut out the bad pieces and leave so whole slices for the top layer! Although this recipe uses plain, savory crust, you could also add spices or use an almond meal crust like this one for a stronger flavor.
Adapted from Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food
½ ice cold water
3 cups all purpose unbleached flour
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold butter cut into small ¼ inch cubes
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
Oregano, dried or fresh
*special equipment: tart pan, rolling pin (or mad skills with a wine bottle), cheese grater
Work the butter into the flour with your fingers for about 1 minute, leaving large irregular pieces. Take care to handle the dough as little as possible to keep the butter cold. Slowly pour in ¾ of the water, stirring with a fork until in begins to form large clumps. Keep adding water as needed and form into a ball. Smash the ball into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.
While the dough is resting, slice the tomatoes and chop the onions. In a large skillet, sauté the onions in olive oil until they are golden brown, adding a sprinkle of salt & pepper. When they are almost done, throw in the garlic and sauté until it is slightly browned. Remove and set aside.
When you are ready to make the tart, take the dough out of the refrigerator to soften for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle your surface with flour and roll out the dough to about a 1/8” thick. Close up any cracks that appear in the dough. Gently lift or scrape the dough off the surface and lay in a large tart dish.
To assemble the tart, grate a layer of cheese, sprinkle the oregano, and spoon on the about 1/3 of the sautéed onion. Fill the layer with tomatoes. Continue to layer the grated cheese, oregano, and onions followed by a layer of tomatoes until you fill up your tart dish! Finish the top layer of tomatoes with some more grated cheese, oregano, salt & pepper. Carefully roll and twist the edges of the crust into a rope along the edge of the dish!
Bake the tart in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to set. Slice and serve warm! Enjoy!