A Lovely Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart
Nantucket isn’t called the Grey Lady for nothing. On the loveliest of days, all of the houses are grey shingled and depending on the season, the landscape is quite grey as well. Add fog to the mix and you end up with a palette of palest silver to deep charcoal. For this reason, on grey August day #3, it was imperative that I find the best and brightest colors to bring to the table.
Happily, Bartlett’s Farm has a decent selection of heirloom tomatoes at the moment and so I decided to do the easiest and classiest thing and make an heirloom tomato, herb, and goat cheese tart. This falls right into my sweet spot-beautiful, delicious, seasonal, flexible, and impressive. I will tell you immediately that I already had a Dufour Puff Pastry in the freezer when I made this decision. That is the only part of the recipe I am going to be inflexible about (besides the part where you have the best tomatoes ever). Use a puff pastry that is made with real butter! That said, you can add all kinds of other embellishments, or none at all, and make it with only tomatoes, goat cheese (I am in love with this brand), and herbs. Your choice!
I happened to have a few spoonfuls of grated parmesan, a tiny bowl of leftover arugula pesto (see the previous post about squash soup), a jar of tomato jam and a lovely few sprigs of fresh thyme. So those were my embellishments. Do what you like. Buy a container of pesto and use that, make a paste of parsley and chives from the garden and use it. Do you have a small hard piece of gruyere or cheddar that you will eventually toss out? Give it a new life and incorporate it into the recipe. Go wild!
Summer Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart
1//2 of a Dufour Puff Pastry sheet, defrosted in the fridge for 3 hours
1 tablespoon of pesto (or none at all)
2 tablespoons of grated parmesan or pecorino ( or any other kind of cheese, or none at all)
3-5 beautiful and perfect tomatoes, sliced into about 1/4 inch rounds and laid out to drain a bit on paper towels
1 tablespoon of tomato jam, melted over a low heat (or hot pepper jelly, or none at all)
Around 3 tablespoons of very good goat cheese
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme (or basil, or 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary, or parsley…or none at all)
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of good EVOO
Preheat the oven to 400° and set a rack right into the middle space. Line a 1/4 sheet pan (or larger sheet pan or cookie tray) with parchment paper. Carefully place the rectangular half of the pastry onto the parchment. If using, gently spread the pesto over the pastry, leaving 1/2 inch of border around the edges empty. If using, sprinkle the cheese over the pesto. Lay your beauteous tomatoes atop the pesto/cheese (or empty pastry) in any lovely pattern you like, leaving the border free. If you like and have it on hand, brush the melted tomato jam over the tomatoes. Crumble the goat cheese decoratively over that and sprinkle with thyme. Salt cautiously and wave the pepper mill over the whole thing. Right before sticking it in the oven, dribble the oil over your gorgeous masterpiece. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven, until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the borders are puffed. You want it to get as crispy as possible without looking burned. Serve hot, warm or room temperature and impress yourself or some lucky friends and family.