The Power of a Savory Tart in Seattle’s Waning Summer.
It happens every year about this time- tomatoes start growing out my ears! Don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean- between my own garden, friends with P-Patches, and well-meaning farmer’s market vendors who slash the prices on their Aunt Rubies down to a mere $1.99 a pound, I’ve suddenly got more tomatoes than I could ever dream about on a cold, January day. Aaah, the spoils of late August and how to appreciate their divine magnificence… If you’re like me, the first thing you do is start slicing tender Beefsteaks into lush rounds, raid the basil plant out in the planter box, and complete the effect with sleek discs of mozzarella (made daily by the lovely folks down at DeLaurenti in Pike Place Market).Only about half the plate survives to the point of drizzling on some aged balsamic- the rest is already a happy memory.
Yes, there is nothing like a fresh Caprese salad in late summer, only at this point I’ve probably made 15 in the last few weeks alone- varied in such clever ways as served on spears with cherry tomatoes and ciliegine mozzarellas, diced heaping into salad bowls made with ovoline mozzarella and Green Zebra tomatoes, even sweetened to the point of oblivion with syrupy reduced balsamic softening the tartness of an Aunt Gertie’s Gold. Last week I tried to put my foot down- go on a proverbial tomato strike- and what happened?
Savory Caprese Tart
Serves 4-6 with a garden greens salad to accompany
Note: Be sure to use a tart pan that allows you to slip off the outer ring when you are finished baking the tart.
- When you pull your tart shell from the oven, set oven temperature to 350° with convection on.
In a blender, combine the cottage cheese, egg, egg yolk, garlic, cream, basil leaves, salt and pepper. Pulse for 10 seconds to mix, and reserve for a final pulse prior to tart assembly.
Slice mozzarella into rounds as thin as you can make them while still retaining a nice form. Press the rounds between two paper towels to remove excess water.
Slice each cherry tomato in half around the equator (not pole-to-pole). (This will expose the right part of the tomato flesh for baking, allowing more of the tomato to ooze out into the tart for better flavour).
Lay the mozzarella rounds in the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell in a concentric circle until you have covered the entire tart. Place your halved cherry tomatoes, flesh-side upward, in a pleasing pattern atop the mozzarella.
Pulse the filling mixture in the blender for a few more seconds to fully combine, then carefully pour over the tomatoes and mozzarella, using just the right amount so that you don’t bury the tomatoes entirely (you want to be able to see some tomato pattern peeking through once the tart is baked).
Carefully place the tart pan on a baking sheet and put a crust protector (or aluminum foil) around the crust to ensure it does not burn. Slide tart into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, possibly turning halfway if you notice the filling is cooking unevenly. Tart is done when filling is firm and slightly golden.
Remove tart from oven and cool on a wire rack for 20-25 minutes, or until pan is cool enough to remove outer ring. Just before serving, remove outer ring, sprinkle tart with some chiffonaded basil et voila!