As fresh as can be, this rustic tart highlighting the vibrant flavors of summer heirloom tomatoes is easy to assemble and lets the oven do most of the work. It is essentially a collaboration of smaller recipes that can be made in advance and some even stored in the freezer, such as the pastry dough and pesto sauce.
For the tart, the tomatoes are lightly roasted to remove some of their moisture without changing the flavors. On the other hand, the garlic is also roasted in the oven but for a longer period of time, which completely changes it’s flavor and I think makes it a bit sweeter. For the record, I’ve been known to eat whole heads of roasted garlic by itself. Yes, it’s that good.
Pâte brisée comes together in mere minutes but also freezes very well, so the last time I prepared it I made a double batch and froze the leftover ball of dough. To use, place the dough in the refrigerator the evening before you plan on working with it and it will be ready to go by morning.
I also like to make a large batch of pesto sauce every summer when fresh basil is cheap and abundant and store it in the freezer. Pour the fresh pesto into a freezer bag and smooth it into a 1/2-inch thick layer, squeeze out the air, and freeze. Break off a small chunk when you want to you use it and it’ll last through the winter.
The heirloom tomatoes are the true highlight of the tart with the other flavors intended to compliment their effervescent summeriness (today that’s a word). Of course you could use more cheese or even add mozzarella, but I think that would turn the tart into a pizza and the beautiful tomatoes would get lost.
Also, the tart is best served at room temperature and gets better as it sits and the flavors have a chance to meld together a bit. It truly puts leftover pizza to shame.
Heirloom Tomato Tart – makes 1 8-inch tart
1 recipe pâte brisée, chilled
1/2 to 1 head garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1 cup heirloom tomatoes (pick a variety of colors, flavors and sizes; cherry tomatoes can be halved)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons pesto sauce
1/2 cup arugula
Pastry dough: Prepare the pâte brisée dough. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Once the dough has rested, roll it out onto a floured work surface into a 1/8-inch thick circle, then carefully transfer it to a pie pan. (If you don’t have a pie pan follow these instructions for making a free form crust.) Set a layer of foil over the dough and fill it with dried beans.
Bake the dough for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and the dried beans and use a fork to make small holes in the bottom of the tart. Return it to the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Cool to room temperature.
Roasted garlic: Cut the top off the head of garlic so the tops of the bulbs are exposed (use either a whole or half head). Pour 1/2 teaspoon olive oil over the garlic and wrap tightly in foil. Bake at 400°F until the garlic cloves are soft and fragrant, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool to room temperature then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the skins; discard the skins. *Note: roasted garlic can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
Barely roasted heirloom tomatoes: Core the tomatoes. Cut the large ones into 1/4-inch thick slices and the smaller ones in half. Cover a baking sheet with foil and arrange the tomatoes on it. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
To assemble the tart: Spread the roasted garlic in a thin layer on the tart shell then sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Arrange the roasted tomatoes in an eye-appealing pattern and drizzle the pesto over the top. Finish by placing the fresh arugula over the center.