11 September 2013

I know most everybody has got fall recipes on their minds already, but I have a couple of last minute late summer recipes still to share with you.  This one features the gorgeous garden tomato.  It's what I made for Meatless Monday this week and it was a huge hit with my family.  It's a tart with an awesome homemade garlic herb crust, melted smoked mozzarella cheese, and juicy red tomatoes.  It's kind of like a backwards pizza; with cheese as the base and topped with tomatoes.  It's slightly adapted from Annie's Eats.

Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Garlic Herb Crust

1¼ cups flour
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp Italian seasoning (I used Tuscan Sunset)
½ tsp garlic powder
1 stick butter, cold
¼ - ½ cup ice cold water
6 oz. fresh smoked mozzarella, sliced
Ripe cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

To make the dough, combine the flour, salt, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder in a medium bowl.  Cube the butter into small pieces and work it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.  Add ¼ cup of the water and stir to incorporate.  If it’s too dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time until the dough forms a ball.  Remove the dough, flatten into a 5” disc, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When you are ready to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 425° .  Coat a 9” tart pan with baking spray.  Transfer the chilled dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a 12” circle.  Lay the dough over the tart pan and press it into the sides.  Fold over the excess dough as needed.  Lay a piece of parchment paper loosely over the tart dough and fill the center with baking beads or dry beans.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and carefully remove the parchment and baking beads.  Return the empty tart shell to the oven to bake for 5 minutes more.  Remove from the oven.

Layer the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell with the sliced mozzarella.  Arrange the cherry tomato slices on top of the cheese in a single even layer.  Sprinkle with chopped basil.  Season with salt and drizzle with olive oil.  Top with freshly grated Parmesan.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned in places.  Allow the tart to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Isn't it gorgeous?  Such a great way to showcase fresh garden tomatoes.  

Here are a few pics of the process:

 The dough ball.  This is the biggest change I made to Annie's recipe.  She used a food processor to chop up fresh garlic and basil for the crust.  I don't have a food processor that will do that, so I used dried herbs and garlic powder instead.  She also used the food processor to cut in the butter and mix in the water, but I did that by hand.  I was nervous that it wouldn't turn out as well because of my changes, but it was great.

 I shy away from recipes that require use of my rolling pin, but this one was totally worth it.

 Into the tart pan it goes.

 Annie's recipe called for regular mozzarella, but I saw this smoked mozzarella at the store and couldn't resist.  It gave it such a great flavor.  The recipe called for 8 oz., but I didn't need that much.  My five-year-old ate the rest.

 Mozzarella, tomato, and basil: classic caprese ingredients.  The tomatoes I used weren't cherry tomatoes, but I don't know what kind they were.  They weren't totally round; when I cut them vertically, the slices kind of looked like red bell peppers.  I'll have to ask the lady at church who gave them to me what kind they were.

 This is the crust after blind baking.  I didn't have baking beads and didn't feel like wasting dried beans, so I baked it without the weights.  It did puff up more than it should, probably, and the sides wanted to fold in, but overall it worked out okay.

 Layered with cheese, tomatoes, and basil.

Warm, melty, and delicious!  Annie had to wick moisture off of hers, but I didn't feel the need.  I guess it depends on what kind of tomato you use.

The crust is really good; kind of a cross between pie crust and garlic bread.  Very unique and very tasty.  

This was a huge hit with my family.  I didn't think my husband would like it that much because he's not a huge fan of tomatoes, but he totally raved about it.  My five-year-old loved it too; so much so that she asked to eat the leftovers the next day for lunch, which NEVER happens.  No matter how good a dish is, my girls always refuse to eat the leftovers the next day.  I couldn't believe it when Lena pointed to it in the fridge and asked, "Oooh, can I eat this tart for lunch?"  She ate the last two pieces.

So this dish was a real winner and a great addition to my collection of meatless main dishes.

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