Thursday, September 2, 2010

Heirloom Tomato Tart by Janet Shangraw

Finally! It's time to harvest the heirloom tomatoes that I've been patiently waiting for all summer. I am so excited by the harvest of these beautiful varieties that I wanted to make a dish that would be just as interesting as the tomatoes. I have been experimenting for a couple of weeks with this tomato tart!

I planted Cherokee Purple, Green Zebras, and heirloom Roma tomatoes this spring. All three of these varieties are indeterminant tomato plants. Indeterminant plants have vines that keep growing through the growing season, extending fruit production until frost kills the vine. Plant size is typically large.
The Cherokee Purple tomatoes are a deep reddish purple color with a crown of green around the top when ripe. Be prepared for a pleasant surprise when cutting into a Cherokee Purple. When sliced, the flesh of the tomato is a very striking brick red color. This tomato has a very rich tomato flavor and is a little sweet. I am pretty pleased with this one.

The Green Zebra plant is very tall and prolific. The fruit is green with dark green stripes and is a little larger than a golf ball. The tomato turns yellow-green with green stripes when ripe. The inside of the fruit is also green. The taste is quite sweet.

The heirloom Roma (there was no variety name on the tag when I purchased it) has a very intense tomato flavor. I look forward to making sauce with this one!
The first time I made the tart I used only Cherokee Purple tomatoes. The next time, I only had one ripe tomato of each variety and I arranged them together on the tart. The combination of colors and shapes looked very interesting and the mix of flavors was wonderful. Serve with a simple mixed green salad for a great light, summer supper.

Heirloom Tomato, Basil and Ricotta Tart

Crust for 1 tart
(use 10" tart pan, or pie pan, or several individual tart pans)
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter/shortening
4 to 5 TBSP ice water
Place all ingredients EXCEPT WATER into food processor and blend. Transfer to mixing bowl and toss with ice water. Form into ball and roll between two sheets of waxed paper. Place crust into tart pan(s). Use roller to "cut" top from pan. Leaves a nice fluted edge.

3-4 heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 15 oz tub of ricotta cheese
2 slightly beaten eggs
½ cup basil leaves
2 Tbs fresh oregano
2 Tbs fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (Romano cheese would be fine too)
Parmesan for top of tart
Wash and dry the basil, oregano, and parsley leaves. Bunch all fresh herbs together and slice thin in strips. Add all filling ingredients and stir.
Spoon filling into tart pan(s). Arrange slices tomatoes on top of ricotta mixture. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste on tomatoes, then add a little more shredded parmesan to top of tart.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes.