One of my favorite dishes to make with fresh tomatoes is a wonderful tomato tart that was introduced to me by our friends Shannon and Dave and that comes from the website www.cooksillustrated.com. Dave has perfected the recipe and showed me his method for making this great summer treat. The key is to make sure you thoroughly dry the tomatoes and, to save time, you can actually make the crust ahead of time and add the tomatoes later.
I have found that this is not only a terrific appetizer to serve for a party, it can actually be a whole meal. It really is an easy recipe that is perfect for any tomato lover!
SERVES 6 TO 8
Thawing the frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight will help prevent cracking while unfolding it. Be sure to use a low-moisture supermarket mozzarella sold in block form, not fresh water-packed mozzarella. If you prefer to do some advanced preparation, the tart shell can be prebaked through step 1, cooled to room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept at room temperature for up to two days before being topped and baked with the mozzarella and tomatoes.
- Flour , unbleached all-purpose, for work surface
- 1box frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm, 1.1 pound), thawed in box in refrigerator overnight
- 1large egg, beaten
- 2ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
- 1pound plum tomatoes (about 3 to 4 medium), cored and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 2medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
- 2tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Ground black pepper
- 8ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- 2tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Dust work surface with flour and unfold both pieces puff pastry onto work surface. Following illustrations below, form 1 large sheet with border, using beaten egg as directed. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over shell; using fork, uniformly and thoroughly poke holes in shell. Bake 13 to 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack; increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
- 2. While shell bakes, place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes. Combine garlic, olive oil, and pinch each salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
- 3. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over warm (or cool, if made ahead) baked shell. Shingle tomato slices widthwise on top of cheese (about 4 slices per row); brush tomatoes with garlic oil. Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes, sprinkle with basil, slide onto cutting board or serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.