Tomato Tart Round III: This Time, Gluten-Free + A Tomato Party!
I should have titled this post, How to Beat a Recipe to Death. Seriously. This is the third time I’ve posted a variation on it but hey, a winner is a winner, and this one is A Winner. It originated with the lovely blog 101 Cookbooks and I’ve just continued to play with it.
The first time I made it as written. The second I adapted for bite-sized tarts. This go-round I made it gluten-free and oh wow, it’s quite lovely. The addition of almond flour is a big win, adding an extra layer of crunch that is a dreamy pairing with the tangy Parmesan cheese.
I’ve also started layering in tomatoes of varying sizes for even more visual and flavor impact. Good tomato fun. Treat yourself before our juicy friends are gone for yet another season…oh, I hate to even think of it.
I took this latest version along to one of the highlights of my whole summer – a Tomato Party! Dreamed up and hosted by Heidi Skoog and her husband Kern Nickerson and Heidi’s cousin Arianna Skoog, every item on the delicious potluck menu was made from tomatoes!
Heidi and Kern opened the party with a tomato consomme cocktail, a ridiculously delightful concoction of tomatoes, basil, vodka, olive oil, and salt, slurried together then dripped through cheese cloth into a clear, blushing liquid. Pure essence of summer, those sips, they lingered on the tongue like the very best of kisses.
From there we graduated to juicy Bloody Marys, brought by Dena Alspach, thick with homemade tomato juice and zingy spices.
Better than dessert. Even without a hangover. Yep.
As we sipped and chatted, we dug into Heidi and Kern’s tomato/fresh mozzarella salad (dubbed The Mothership, love), a bowl of perfect cherry tomatoes from their crazy-awesome heirloom garden, as well as their version of roasted tomatoes with goat cheese.
Dena brought roasted tomatoes with goat cheese too (great tomatoes, great tomato minds…), and an insane heirloom tomato salad with tomato vinaigrette – yes! We were all soon spooning that dressing over everything, so fantastic and rich.
I so wished I’d taken a stab at a tomato-strawberry ice cream, or some such food fun for a tomato-y dessert, but…next year.
We joked about how a huge blast of tomatoes would mean none of us would be getting colds soon. Or prostate cancer.
For now, in case you have a stash of lovely tomatoes on your counter, and you’re somehow tired of BLTs, have at this easy, cheesy tart.
End of summer happiness.
Tomato Tart with Parmesan Crust (Gluten-Free Version)
Very lightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson
According to my friend Joy Summers, the nutty cheese crust is like a savory cookie frosted with Mother Nature’s bounty. Love.
4 medium-sized, in-season, ripe heirloom tomatoes, mixed varieties (3-4 inches in diameter), cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 small, ripe heirloom tomatoes (1-2 inches in diameter), cut into 1/4-inch slices
8-10 ripe cherry tomatoes of varying colors, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. gluten-free, all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour if not gluten-free)
4-oz. chunk Parmesan cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. ice cold water
best quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. torn basil
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle them with fine-grained sea salt. Top the tomatoes with another layer of paper towels and press gently. Let the tomatoes sit until you are ready to use them.
In the bowl of a food processor, grind the Parmesan until very finely grated and fluffy. Remove about 2 Tbsp. of cheese and set aside for later.
Add butter and both flours to the cheese and pulse in short bursts until the dough is sandy-textured with pea-sized pieces of butter. With a few more pulses, blend in the 2 Tbsp. of ice water. The dough should start to come together in a ball and when pinched, stick together. Transfer the dough to a removable-bottom tart pan, then press the dough uniformly into the pan, patting out a 1/4-inch edge as you go. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes.
Pull the crust out of the refrigerator and poke several times with a fork. Cover the tart with a square of aluminum foil and cover with pie weights. Slide the crust onto the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, pull the shell out of the oven and remove the pie weights, then gently peel back the foil. Place the uncovered tart back in the oven, weight free, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until it is a deep golden brown color. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the reserved grated Parmesan (this will act as another barrier to the tomato liquid). Place the pan on a rack and let cool to room temperature before filling.
Just before serving, arrange tomato slices on the crust. Drizzle with best quality extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with basil. Grind black pepper over the whole. Serve immediately.