Summer Heirloom Tomato Tart with Fresh Herbs

tomato tart

Yields: 1 (15- by 10-inch tart), 12 pieces

 

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

All-purpose flour (for dusting)

½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

¾ cup freshly grated Emmental or Gruyere cheese

freshly ground black pepper

1 whole egg

1 tablespoon water

1 pound ripe heirloom tomatoes, preferably assorted colors (about 4 small), sliced ¼-inch thick

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh herbs, such as oregano, thyme and marjoram

zest of one small lemon (zested on a Microplane)

salt flakes, preferably Maldon or Jacobsen sea salt, to taste

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil leaves

 

Arrange an oven rack in the upper middle position. Place an inverted sheet tray on the rack. Preheat oven (and sheet tray) to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out puff pastry on a sheet of lightly floured parchment paper in the shape of a large rectangle measuring about 15- by 10-inches. Prick pastry with a fork in a few places, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges, then slide parchment paper onto a second inverted sheet tray.

Brush the ½ tablespoon of olive oil on the pastry dough, staying within the 1-inch border and sprinkle over the cheese and some freshly ground black pepper.

Whisk together egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush egg wash on the edges of the pastry (the 1-inch border).

Arrange tomatoes on top of the oiled portion, overlapping a little if necessary.

Season the tomatoes with the 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs and the lemon zest.

Carefully slide parchment off of the sheet tray and onto the hot sheet tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the inverted sheet tray 180 degrees. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the edges of the pastry are golden brown and puffed up.

Let tart cool for 10 minutes before cutting into 12 pieces.

Before serving, sprinkle over a generous bit of salt, top with chopped basil and drizzle over some extra-virgin olive oil.

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Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

Summer means sweet, ripe tomatoes in abundance and I just love when they start going off like wildfire in the garden and at farmers markets. This is usually the signal for me to start making big batches of  tomato sauce, freezing in abundance and roasting and snacking endlessly on cherry and grape tomatoes. And, of course, there’s one of my favorite tomato stand outs – the tomato sandwich. Bright, sweet, acidic, of the earth – it’s truly a summer delight – and here’s my take on it.

 

Heirloom Tomatoes Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

 

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich with Basil Lemon Ricotta

Yield: 4 servings

 

For Basil Lemon Ricotta

1 cup whole milk ricotta, drained (I use Angelo and Franco brand ricotta)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest from one lemon

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil

2 small garlic cloves, minced

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Whisk all ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

For Sandwich

1 small ciabatta loaf or sourdough boule, cut in half widthwise and lengthwise, seasoned and toasted in the oven with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and rubbed with a peeled garlic clove

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, different colors if possible, cut into ¼- and ½ -inch slices

16 medium basil leaves, hand torn

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

 

Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Spread basil lemon ricotta over toasted ciabatta and arrange 1 layer of heirloom tomatoes on top.

Put some of the hand torn basil on top of the first layer of tomatoes and then add another layer of tomatoes.

Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil on top.

Roll up your sleeves and dive in.

 

 

Italian Bread Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

It’s a classic and beloved Italian dish – panzanella – and once you try it, you’ll know why. Croutons soaked in extra-virgin olive oil and diced summer tomatoes. What more could you ask for? How about some bacon?! I like to add crispy prosciutto to my salad. It adds some texture and, of course, lots of flavor. Either way, this is the perfect salad for the summer. I mean, who’s to argue with the Italians? Capisce?!

 

Italian Bread Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

 

Italian Bread Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

Yield: 2 servings


1 1/2 cups large hand torn croutons from Sourdough bread (crusts removed)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 slices prosciutto, torn into medium pieces

2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar

4 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 small shallot, diced small (3 tablespoons)

¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1 large tomato, diced medium, seeds removed and reserved

1/2 hothouse cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced on a bias

1/4 cup green olives, pits discarded and chopped roughly, optional

8 medium basil leaves, hand torn

 

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, toss to combine the hand torn croutons with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Spread the croutons and prosciutto pieces on a parchment lined sheet tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the croutons are toasted, but still soft in the middle and the prosciutto is crispy. (You may have to take out the croutons before the prosciutto.)

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, add the vinegars, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the tomato seeds. Close the lid and shake vigorously until well combined.

Place diced shallots and oregano in a small bowl. Using a tea strainer, strain the vinaigrette over the shallots so the tomato seeds do not combine with the shallots. Discard the tomato seeds.

In a large bowl, gently fold to combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives (if using), basil, croutons and the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide onto plates, drizzle each plate with olive oil and top with some of the crispy prosciutto pieces.

P.S. The quality of olive oil is always important, but especially in a salad where you can really taste its flavor. I’m partial to my favorite brand, Lucini Italia. Their olive oil is perfectly balanced and their vinegars are excellent as well. It can be found at most grocery stores or you can buy it online – in bulk!

National Heirloom Expo

I’m so excited to be speaking, cooking and signing my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, at (and attending) the National Heirloom Expo in September!

For those of you who don’t know about this event: The National Heirloom Exposition is a not-for-profit event centered around the pure food movement, heirloom vegetables, and anti-GMO activism.  This year, it will take place from 9/11-9/13 in Santa Rosa, California and there are so MANY renowned speakers, activists, chef, presenters, gardeners and farmers who will be there.

So, make sure you mark your calendars and scout out your Latte locations – it’s going to be an awesome event!