|Double Tomato Tart with Ricotta and Basil|
How do you feel about tomatoes? I mean they’re kinda weird aren’t they? Firm on the outside, mushy in the middle. I have to admit, I have a love-hate relationship with tomatoes. Especially when served raw. For most of the year, it’s all hate. I eat around them in my salads (which drives my mother INSANE). I pick them off my burgers. I oust them from my club sandwiches and ignore them altogether when I’m at Subway. But for some reason, heated tomatoes are a completely different story (I know, I’m weird). A simple pasta sauce of roasted cherry tomatoes is a thing of pure joy in my world and two just-the-right-thickness slices are mandatory for my tuna melts.
In the summertime though, I will push a person out of my way to get my hands on the ripest, wackiest looking heirloom tomatoes. I will devour those babies with gusto (and just a little salt and pepper). YUM. Eye-rolling-into-the-back-of-your-head YUM. Plus, this time of the year they’ll be on everything I can reasonably put them on. Burger? Check. Club sammie? Double check. Even my deli sandwiches get the tomato treatment in the summer.
Enter this double tomato whammy of a tart. I know it’s probably illegal to heat up heirlooms but I can’t help myself, especially with a tart like this. This is the kinda tart that demands the best of everything. Homemade sun-dried tomato pesto (the extra layer of tomatoness will knock your socks off). The very best tomatoes you can find. Creamy, tangy homemade ricotta and some basil from that little plant in your windowsill you lovingly kept from croaking over the winter months. Oh, and your best olive oil. You know, the one you hide from the kids, the one that’s way back in the back of the pantry by the health food (because they will NEVER look there). Grab that. All you need now is some puff pastry and you’re all set.
(Of course if you want to use store-bought pesto and ricotta, that’s fine too. But homemade is super easy. And super way-better than store bought. I’m just sayin’.)
Double Tomato Tart with Ricotta and Basil
Makes 1 large tart
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed but chilled
1/3 cup sun-dried tomato pesto (easy homemade recipe here.)
½ cup ricotta (homemade recipe here. super easy.)
6 large basil leaves, plus an additional few for garnish
2-3 good size heirloom tomatoes, sliced (I do mine the thickness of what is normally on a burger)
Freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and place the thawed sheet of puff pastry amongst the flour. Carefully unfold the sheet and gently roll out the dough to add a couple of inches on each side, as well as to seal the seams from where the dough was folded.
At this point, you can use the tip of a sharp knife to create a rim of puff pastry or you can skip that part and let the pastry rise naturally around the ingredients. If you want to create the rim, just gently trace a rectangle about 1-inch from the pastry’s edge. Either way, place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet.
***If your puff pastry has been out for more than a few minutes, or your kitchen is very warm, you should really place it back in the fridge for a few (10 or so) minutes. The butter in the dough needs to stay chilled for maximum puffiness.
Once your dough is ready, smear the sun-dried tomato pesto on the dough, leaving the 1-inch rim around the edge. Smear or dollop the ricotta on top of the pesto, making sure to distribute it evenly.
Tear most of the basil leaves into halves and tuck onto the ricotta and/or scatter all over the tart. Add the sliced tomatoes, placing them in a single layer over the ricotta and pesto (a little overlap is okay). Slice the rest of the basil into ribbons and set aside.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, basically until the pastry is puffed up around the side and golden brown. Remove from the oven and drizzle immediately with the olive oil, just lightly. Sprinkle the basil ribbons on top.
To serve: Using the parchment paper as your guide, place the tart on a cutting board and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice into large pieces and add a fresh salad and you’ve got the perfect light meal. Slice into smaller sections and you’ve got a great summer appetizer.