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Tomato tart a delicious option for brunch

Recipe: Goat cheese and mustard are supporting players in this summer star

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Tomatoes in a tart -- now that's summer.
(Photos: Kathy Morrison)

If your counters are covered with tomatoes, homegrown ones or a local farmer’s, you’re probably on the lookout for new recipes this time of year.

I recently ran across a good one from Martha Rose Shulman of the New York Times, a tomato and goat cheese tart that looked perfect for brunch. Plenty of herbs, and an intriguing mustard layer under the tomatoes -- those were great, but that yeasted pastry she used had to go. I don’t do complicated crusts when it’s meltingly hot outside.

Solution: Refrigerated rolled pie crust (Pillsbury being one option). These premade crusts usually are a little too salty to me for fruit pies, but they work fine for a savory dish.


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Tomato slices give up their wateriness
when placed on paper towels.
My other adaptation for this tart came from a technique in a Parade magazine recipe. You slice the tomatoes, then spread them on a baking sheet covered with paper towels, and lightly salt them. After about 30 minutes, the paper towels mostly soak up the watery parts of the tomatoes that can make a tart mushy.

The herb options here are many. I went for fresh thyme, a little more subtle than fresh basil for a brunch entree. (Believe me, I use plenty of basil in other dishes.) I think the tart is best served slightly warmer than room temperature, but you can refrigerate leftovers and enjoy them cold or reheated.

Easier tomato and goat cheese tart

Adapted from the New York Times
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

½ package (1 roll) of a refrigerated pie crust, allowed to sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

4 or 5 ripe medium-to-large tomatoes (a mix of colors is nice)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs (chopped parsley, marjoram or basil, or a mix) OR 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh thyme or chopped rosemary

2 eggs

4 ounces plain goat cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9- or 10-inch tart pan and line it with the unrolled crust. (Trim the dough if necessary.) Put the tart pan in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the tart filling.

Cover a large rimmed baking pan with several layers of paper towels. Slice the tomatoes about ¼-inch thick and place the slices in a single layer on the paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Let stand 30 minutes, turning tomatoes over about halfway through. Pat tomatoes dry, removing any large clumps of seeds (optional).
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Dijon mustard on the crust adds a savory layer of flavor.

Remove tart pan from the refrigerator. Brush the mustard over the bottom of the crust. Arrange the tomato slices over the mustard in concentric circles, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the herbs you chose.

In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the tomatoes. Drizzle on the 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Place tart in the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and filling is set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

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RECIPE

A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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