Early September brings beautiful tomatoes, their sunny colors cheerily keeping autumn at bay, reminding us that summer is not yet finished. Sweet, juicy, sunkissed heirlooms, early girls, and cherries promise to bring a little sunshine to our dinner plates while the days grow shorter, cooler and crisper.
This Tomato Tart is an easy, light dinner for a busy weekday night that takes advantage of the kaleidescope of cherry tomatoes falling in our gardens and showcased in the market. The tart’s ease of preparation is, in part, due to the usage of store-bought frozen puff pastry dough. I confess that as much as I try to homemake everything, homemade pastry (unless made well ahead of time and frozen) doesn’t conveniently figure into a spontaneous week night meal. Fortunately, high quality frozen pastry dough is available in many stores. I buy mine at Whole Foods, and while the price is not cheap, I see it as a break-even when considering the cost of the ingredients and time I would need to make it myself. However, if you do have time on your side (lucky you!) and would like to make your own pastry, one of my go-to recipes for quick puff pastry is from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible.
Serves 4 as a light meal or 6-8 as a side dish
1 sheet (11 oz./300 g.) frozen puff-pastry dough, thawed
1 1/2 lbs. (750 g.) cherry tomatoes, multi-colored if possible, halved lengthwise
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram
Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C.)
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness. Pierce dough all over with a fork, leaving a 1″ border in tact. Transfer dough to a parchment-lined baking tray and refrigerate 15 minutes.
Bake in oven until lightly golden, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven, but do not turn off heat.
Arrange tomato halves, cut-side up, on crust, leaving the 1″ border clear. Drizzle tart with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Return to oven and bake 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove tart from oven, and transfer to serving platter. Garnish with fresh marjoram (or basil) and serve immediately.
For a complete rustic meal serve with a wedge of soft, runny Camembert or Saint Nectaire cheese, thick slices of pain paysan and a salad of mixed seasonal greens.