The Tenessee Tomato In All It's Glory
By Lindsay Landis of Love and Olive Oil
I’ll admit, I was a tomato skeptic most of my life, always requesting “no tomatoes” on my sandwiches, tacos and burgers. But now, I know that aversion was only because I had not experienced the Tennessee tomato in all its glory. Once I sunk my teeth into a slice of a perfectly ripe heirloom tomato (purchased because it was too darn beautiful not to) and sprinkled with a bit of sea salt, I changed my tune right then and there. I’ve been gorging myself on green zebras, brandywine pinks and Cherokee purples, every summer for fifteen years now, and have no plans to stop. Sure, I’m looking forward to the welcome relief of cooler temperatures and lower humidity come autumn, but I’ll gladly deal with the oppressive heat if it means I get to enjoy more tomatoes!
This heirloom tomato tart is the best of Tennessee summers in a buttery tart shell; with creamy basil goat cheese and juicy vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes nestled in a savory parmesan shortcrust (the crust alone is worth the make!) this is one recipe you don’t want to miss!
Goat Cheese & Heirloom Tomato Tart
For Parmesan Crust:
1 cup (125g) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (75g) finely grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
4 – 5 tablespoons ice water
2 cups granulated sugar (for blind baking)
For Goat Cheese Filling:
6 oz (170g) mild goat cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50g) heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
pinch sea salt
3 or 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
small fresh basil leaves, for garnish
flake sea salt, for finishing
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Get out a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom.
2. Combine flour, salt, and grated cheese in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.3. Sprinkle the cubes of butter over the flour and pulse a few more times until the mixture is mostly fine crumbs with scattered pea size pieces of butter remaining. Drizzle in a few tablespoons of water then pulse. Continue adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together when you squeeze. Take care here to not add too much water, it shouldn’t be sticky or form a ball in the food processor.
4. Dump the crumbly dough into your tart pan and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes until firm. Crumple up a piece of parchment paper and lay it inside the crust, then fill with sugar, easing the parchment and sugar into all the edges.5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges start to darken. Carefully lift out the parchment with the sugar (save the now deliciously toasted sugar for another purpose!) then return the crust to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
6. While the tart cools, mix the goat cheese and heavy cream in a bowl and stir well to combine, then stir in basil and salt. Spread into cooled tart shell.
7. Just before serving, arrange tomato slices on top of goat cheese. Sprinkle with flake salt and garnish with basil. Serve immediately at room temperature.