Only a few of you know this, but I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes. I’ve kept it a secret because I’m a grower and seller of a many varieties of tomatoes. Over the years I have acquiesced to eating cooked tomatoes, but I’m still developing a taste for the raw ones. This summer I made a huge leap into eating cherry tomatoes – my least favorite historically. (Don’t judge! I know at least a half dozen other out there that feel the same way.) They are just so thick skinned and the juice and seeds always gross me out, but I found if I quarter them and put them on nachos or quesadilla, they are great! Sugary sweet and no seedy ‘splosion when you bite into them.
Here’s one of my FAVORITE cooked tomato recipies. It’s especially good when the weather starts turning a little colder and you are more likely to have a few tomatoes lying around that you can’t decide what to do with.
Left: made with only cherry tomatoes – Right: made with Brandywine and Pineapple varieties.
Add a little feta, basil and/or high quality Balsamic vinegar…
Chop into finger food and enjoy!
Heirloom Tomato Tart
1 large leek, cleaned, finely chopped (use half an onion if you don’t have leeks)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
4 oz mini mozzarellas, halved (or a schmere of ricotta cheese if no mozz)
3 heirloom tomatoes
2 cloves, garlic, minced
8 basil leaves, coarsley chopped
1 sheet puff pastry or 12 puff pastry shells
1 pinch kosher salt
1 pinch black pepper, ground
Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a large baking tray. Finely chop the white and pale green part of the leek. Add 1-2 teaspoons of oil to a saucepan and cook leek over low heat until softened (don’t allow it to brown).
Slice tomatoes into ¼-inch slices. Place tomato slices on kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 10 minutes then cover with paper towels and press gently to remove any excess juice.
Cut pastry sheet in half and place halves on baking tray. Score ½-inch border around the edge of each pastry sheet being careful not to cut all the way through the pastry. If using pastry shells, skip all pastry prep. Prick pastry all over (center only) using a fork. Sprinkle pastry bases with grated Parmesan and then leek. Arrange mozzarella halves on top of leek. Top with tomato, overlapping the slices.
Mix garlic, oil and salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Brush tomatoes with garlic oil. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden. Garnish with basil leaves and shaved Parmesan. Slice and serve immediately. 16 portions.
NOTE: The salting part of the preparation is very important. Tomatoes are mostly water and by salting and pressing them you will have a non-soggy finished tart. This is an easy, creative way to show off the intense flavor of the heirloom tomatoes available in the late summer.