Heirloom Tomato Tart with Ricotta and Basil

Despite the “Summer is coming” threat of 100-plus temperatures (hello August!), this really is an amazing season in the central valley. The stores and farmer’s markets are full to bursting with everything, and it’s really easy to eat healthy. Of course, I say that, and then have wine for dinner. (What? It’s made from grapes!)

I’m always on the lookout for vegetarian recipes for Husband J, and ran into this in january when Williams-Sonoma did a wrap-up of their most pinned recipes of the year. This list became my official to-do list for 2016. In January I already knew what I’d be doing come July when the really great heirloom tomatoes started coming in – Heirloom Tomato Tart with Ricotta and Basil.

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Follow the link and take a look at that beautiful picture. Notice that I did not take a picture. I actually thought I had, but in contrast to how awesome theirs looks, I’m glad I didn’t. Needless to say, mine did not look like that, but it was close. Really the most intensive part of this recipe was the crust. I got to pull out my 30 year old Cuisinart (a Christmas gift from my mother my senior year of college – I think it was her way of saying, “Please don’t think you’re moving back home after you graduate.”). It’s a classic flour, butter, ice water crust. Mine kinda fell apart a wee bit, but I just squished it back together. I followed the directions (gasp!) and rolled it out to 1/8 inch thickness, but I think next time i’m just going to press it into the pan and make it a little thinner. I don’t actually own pie weights, and I can’t justify buying them, so I used beans.

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A couple of recipe notes:

  1. Next time I am not going to try to stuff all of the filling into the pan. I ran out of room for tomatoes. Yes, I had a layer, but I’d prefer a few more tomato slices. More tomato- less ricotta.
  2. Let me amend that – less ricotta, less crust – waaay more tomato. Yes, if I’d had pie weights they would have kept the crust from fluffing up more than the, much lighter, beans did. But I’m going to try just using less crust. Also, since I’ll have less crust going into the pan and it’s a nice basic recipe, I’m going to make cookies with the rest and sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on them to serve with ice cream. Leftover crust problem solved.
  3. Cook the tart crust in the early morning, when I can still open up the house to let the heat escape. I was really glad that I didn’t have to cook the rest of the tart.
  4. This was awesome with basil, I used fresh from my garden, but it would also be good with oregano (which I also have in my garden). If you’re going to buy a bunch of basil, buy it on the day you’re going to use it. Basil is incredibly fragile once cut and will go bad very quickly.
  5. A little balsamic vinegar would finish this off nicely as well, if you feel so inclined.

Except for the crust this tart is entirely uncooked. Perfect for summer, nice and cool and easy. Here’s the catch though, it’s only good for summer. Because you’re not cooking the tomatoes they have to be fresh and perfectly ripe – out of season tomatoes that have spent any time in a cooler (refrigeration kills the taste) are just not going to work. Also, realistically, are you going to want tomato tart in the middle of winter? No, you want it now, when you can eat it on the porch with a glass of wine and revel in the fact that your house is still cool.

 

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