In the summer, as tomato season reaches its peak, my kitchen frequently overflows with perfectly ripe specimins. They are mostly red, with a few oranges, yellows, purples and stripes thrown in for variety. Many are heirloom varieties, all are organic, and each and every one is absolutely delicious.
There are lots of things you can do with a kitchen full of tomatoes. Gazpacho , bruschetta , tomato sandwiches and salsa are just a few of the things that spring to mind. For really top-notch tomatoes, I like to stick to simple dishes so that their flavor comes through, but I also like variety, so I don’t want to have a tomato salad every day.
This tart is a great summer dish to make. It is quick, easy, looks gorgeous and uses only three ingredients – tomatoes, parmesan and puff pastry. The tomatoes and parmesan should be the best quality (i.e. heirloom/organic tomatoes and cheese that doesn’t come from a shelf-stable can) because the presentation really allows them to shine. Plus, there is nothing for a mediocre tomato to hide behind here, so you really have to go for the best to get the best results. The pastry can be homemade or store-bought.
In the recipe below, I am purposely vague on the amount of the ingredients. Depending on brand, puff pastry can be many sizes. Use just one sheet, or enough to fit on your baking sheet. Parmesan is used to taste. Since I use it as a replacement for flour when rolling out the dough for this tart, I tend to sprinkle it on as I work. Finally, I didn’t specify the number of tomatoes you’ll need to make this tart. Since heirloom tomatoes can vary radically in size, the number does not matter as long as you end up with enough slices to cover the pastry in a single layer. I have made it using only one gigantic tomato, and I have also made it using a dozen very small tomatoes. Hopefully, you’ll have several tomatoes on hand all season and you will be able to slice as needed.
Parmesan Tomato Tart
1 sheet puff pastry
3/4 – 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
fresh heirloom/organic tomatoes
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375F.
Thaw puff pastry slightly, if frozen, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with approx 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese and roll out pastry until it is 1/8-inch thick and cheese is firmly pressed into the dough. Add a bit more cheese if necessary to prevent sticking.
Slice tomatoes into 1/8-inch thick slices (or as thin as you can make them) using a very sharp knife. Use a paper towel to blot up excess juice if your tomatoes happen to be extra juicy. Place tomatoes in a single layer on pastry, overlapping the tomatoes very slightly at the edges and leaving a 1/4 – 1/2-inch border around the sides of the pastry.
Top with remaining cheese (or a bit less, as you prefer), and add a generous sprinkle of both salt and pepper.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pastry is puffed and golden.
Slice and serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 8-10 as an appetizer.