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Roast those last tomatoes for an easy, delicious galette

Recipe: Flexible recipe uses cheese, pre-made crust

They're late in the season but still delicious: Juliet tomatoes, ready for roasting.

They're late in the season but still delicious: Juliet tomatoes, ready for roasting.

Kathy Morrison

The tomato plants are disappearing from the community garden I belong to. One here, one there, then whole plots of them -- their luscious fruits now canned or frozen or just memory. It's nearly fall, and many gardeners are done with summer.

Roasted red tomatoes on a pan
Roasting concentrates the tomato flavor.

Of course the heat wave killed off many summer vegetable plants, and in others it halted the will to reproduce. Still, some of us stubbornly keep our plants in place. How could I tear out something that looks so healthy? For now, the Juliet tomato plant survives, along with a few others, and I get to enjoy her meaty tomatoes that are even more precious now that they are dwindling.

The recipe here is an excellent way to use any late-summer veggies. And thank goodness the weather has cooled down, because roasting the veggies first is a must, to concentrate the flavors and let the excess liquid cook off.

Use what you have: zucchini, peppers, eggplant, scallions, garlic -- and of course tomatoes. The cheese and herbs are also flexible: Goat cheese or Gruyere instead of mozzarella, for example, and thyme or oregano instead of basil. I included a cup of cubed rotisserie chicken, because I had it, but that is optional.

Roasted summer vegetable galette

Serves 4-6


4 to 6 cups summer vegetables, such as tomatoes, zucchini or peppers, halved or cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil

1 premade refrigerated pastry crust, allowed to sit out at room temperature for a few minutes

1 cup cubed cooked chicken or ham (optional)

3 or 4 scallions, trimmed and sliced

4 ounces fresh mozzarella or other soft or semi-soft cheese, such as goat cheese or grated Gruyere

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as basil or parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried herbs


Freshly grated black pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese

Water or cream for brushing crust, optional


Basil and cheese on a pastry round
Scatter the cheese and basil on the pastry.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread the tomatoes and/or other veggies on a quarter-sheet baking pan. Drizzle olive oil over it, and stir, making sure all the veggies get a little. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Some brown is fine.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Some of the veggies may give off a lot of liquid. Pour that off and discard or use it to make vegetable broth.

When the veggies are mostly cool, scrape them into a large measuring cup. You should have at least 3 cups of roasted vegetables. (You may need to pour out more liquid here.)

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Unroll the premade pastry onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. If the pastry is getting too soft to work with, pop the pan into the freezer for a few minutes. In a large bowl, combine the veggies, the scallions, the chicken or ham (if using), and salt and pepper to taste.

Distribute the basil and dabs of fresh mozzarella (or whatever you're using) over the pastry round, leaving about 1-1/2 inches open around the edge. Mound the galette filling over the herbs and cheese.

Fold the pastry edge up, pleating it as you go. This is a rustic tart, so don't worry about perfection.

Tomato galette with golden crust
The galette has a golden crust and savory filling.

Sprinkle some Parmesan over the filling. If desired, brush the crust edges with water or cream.

Bake 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 26:

Sacramento can expect another inch of rain from this latest storm. Leave the sprinklers off at least another week. Temps will dip down into the low 30s early in the week, so avoid planting tender seedlings (such as tomatoes). Concentrate on these tasks before or after this week’s rain:

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* Knock off aphids with a strong blast of water or some bug soap as soon as they appear.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to help corral blossom blight.

* Feed citrus trees, which are now in bloom and setting fruit.

To prevent sunburn and borer problems on young trees, paint the exposed portion of the trunk with diluted white latex (water-based) interior paint. Dilute the paint with an equal amount of cold water before application.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.

* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.

* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.

* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.

* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.

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