Taking a brief respite from the fig madness… we turn to another one of late summer’s treasures. We have been trying to enjoy the tomatoes as much as we possibly can, knowing that they won’t be around for long. While our CSA has been delivering some of the most delicious tomatoes we’ve ever had, our go-to farmstand booth for heirloom tomatoes has been coming up short. Apparently the heat and humidity we’ve had this summer did a number on the delicate heirloom varieties. We had a few earlier in the summer, and they were as sweet and delicious as ever. But unlike last summer where the heirlooms lasted through September, they are all but done for this season.
While eating them fresh may be our favorite way to enjoy summer tomatoes, a whole new set of flavors appear when roasted. The bright and tangy tomato becomes richer, more robust. In a dish like this one, the indulgent flavors of the roasted tomato take center stage, accented only by the creamy goat cheese and fragrant herbs. The drizzle of honey doesn’t hurt, either…
Plus it gave me an opportunity to try out my cute new tartlet pan. You could make a large tart too, and it’ll still taste incredible, it just won’t be quite as precious.
French Tomato Tartlets
Makes 1 (9-inch) tart or 8 (4-inch) tartlets. Adapted from David Lebovitz.
1 1/2 cups (210 g) flour
4 1/2 ounces (125 g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2-3 tablespoons cold water
Dijon or whole-grain mustard
2-3 large ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
two generous tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, chives, chervil, or tarragon
8 ounces (250 g) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 tablespoons raw honey (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
To prepare crust, combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Add butter and mix with a pastry blender until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
Lightly beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring with a fork until the dough barely holds together. Squeeze some of the dough between your fingers. It should hold together without being sticky. If it is too dry and crumbly, add additional tablespoon ice water as needed.
Gather the dough into a ball and roll out on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and go up the sides, transfer the dough to the tart pan. Lightly press into pan and trim edges. Gently dock the bottom of the crust with your fingertips or a fork.
Spread an even layer of mustard over the bottom of the tart dough. Arrange the tomatoes over the mustard in a single, even layer. Lightly drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with some chopped fresh herbs, then arrange the goat cheese on top. Top with more fresh herbs, then a light drizzle of honey, if using.
Bake 30 minutes for a large tart, 20-25 or so for tartlets, or until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes are tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Depending on the heat of your oven, if the cheese doesn’t brown as much as you’d like it, you might want to pass it under the broiler until it’s just right.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing and eating.