As I was thinking about what to make for the blog this week, I got carried away with daydreams of fall - autumn squash, apples, okra, brussel sprouts, pumpkin everything...But as I strolled through the market browsing for produce, I was quickly reminded that although the weather has been unseasonably cool, August is still late summer.
When shopping in a grocery store, we can get most ingredients year round, thus losing touch with the rhythms of nature. However, the beauty of supporting your local farmer's market is slowing down and savoring each season and the unique bountiful harvest it has to offer. August is a joyously abundant month for food - you can find just about anything you could at a store. Just look at what's available at the producers-only Boulder Farmer's Market right now!
But what really shines? What screams juicy, flavorful joy and doesn't seem to compare in other months?
Peaches, sweet corn, and HEIRLOOM TOMATOES. Heck, there was a whole Tomato Festival last week! Just look at these beauties from Rocky Mountain Fresh. Hence, the inspiration for this Heirloom Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions.
For me, tomatoes instantly take me back to summers playing in my grandmother's garden and picking veggies before heading to a neighborhood potluck picnic. I remember the joy of ripe cherry tomatoes bursting in my mouth - sweet as candy, but I was actually allowed to eat as many as I wanted.
As delicious as tomatoes can be, sadly, I find the grocery store options simply don't even come close. They are colorless, odorless, and flavorless when compared to their fresh-picked counterparts. Soil-grown organic tomatoes are VIBRANT and full of vitality. You cannot help but to smile when the juice dribbles down your chin. Add salt and pepper or a drizzle of balsamic if you wish, but a REAL tomato has more than enough flavor to stand alone.
I looked at a few different recipes featuring tomatoes as the star of the show and combined my favorite parts of each to come up with this recipe to share with you all. I ended up making a square tart with parmesan, basil and a drizzle of balsamic AND a round galette with thyme and honey. Both were topped with a generous finish of olive oil, of course.
I'll post the instructions for the first one here. You can follow along exactly or let your creativity run wild. This tart would be great round or square, with big tomatoes or small, with ricotta or goat cheese, with thyme or basil or oregano (or whatever herbs you have available) - you get the idea. I have to think just about any combo of your favorite ingredients would be both beautiful and tasty.
"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients." .
Start with the best local tomatoes you can find. Rinse them, slice 'em thick, and place them on a towel-covered baking sheet with a little S&P to drain excess moisture. You don't want a soggy tart.
I have never been much of a baker, so I took a little shortcut and used a pre-made puff pastry, which I thawed while draining the tomatoes. It's possible to find gluten free pastry dough at some stores as well. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
While those two steps are happening, heat a tablespoon or two of Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil on medium-low heat and saute thinly sliced onions until they are browned. Just before the onions are finished, add a pinch of fresh thyme (dried would be okay, too). Be patient and don't rush this step. Trust me, perfectly sweet caramelized onions are worth it. ; )
Layer all the ingredients. Brush lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with parmesan, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Top the baked tart with a drizzle of our peppery True Tuscan finishing oil and fresh julienned basil leaves. If you have a good balsamic, it will really complete the caprese like flavors of the basil and tomatoes.
Serve warm as an appetizer, lunch, or a main dish alongside a big salad of spicy greens. Just thinking about it makes me want a glass of white wine and a bit of juicy tomato heaven.
I really hope you're enjoying the last little bit of summer and you get a chance to try this recipe. If you do, let me know what you think in the comments!
Stay healthy friends!
- ~1 pound assorted tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
- sea salt and coarse black pepper
- 1-2 tablespoon Healthy Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled, halved, and then sliced about ⅛ inch thick
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 4 ounces goat cheese, room temp
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- small handful basil leaves, julienned (thinly sliced)
- True Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, for finishing
- Line a baking sheet with a dish towels. (yay for avoiding disposable paper towels!) Lay tomato slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle tomato slices with salt. Flip the tomatoes over and sprinkle second side with salt. Allow the tomatoes to sit while you prepare the onions. Also, set out the goat cheese to soften if you haven't already.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sauté them for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Peel thyme leaves from the stem and add to onions with a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to cook the onions until they are nicely browned.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Roll the pastry puff to about an 1/8" thick and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Lightly score a border 3/4" from the edge without cutting all the way through the pastry. This will give the finished tart a nice crust. Crumble the goat cheese evenly across the pastry within the scored border, then sprinkle with parm. Top that with caramelized onions, and finally, pat the tomatoes dry before layering them on, overlapping as necessary. Brush lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with parmesan, salt, and pepper.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Top the baked tart with a drizzle of our peppery True Tuscan finishing oil, a good balsamic, and fresh julienned basil leaves.
- Serve warm.