This recipe, from Cooking with Jeffrey, is the kind of recipe that used to drive me crazy. When we lived in Minnesota, we got beautiful tomatoes that were perfect just on their own, raw and delicious. I hated to waste them in recipes like this, when their perfect flavor would be disguised with herbs and heat and cheese.
Enter Houston, and its (I’m so sorry) subpar tomatoes. I still miss the tomatoes and corn of the Midwest, and being able to breathe the air in the summer, but I don’t mind putting Houston tomatoes into this tomato tart, because they really do have room for improvement. (Houston, I love you. You know I do. But your tomatoes are garbage.) I picked up these tomatoes, along with some peaches and figs, at the farmers’ market this weekend. They were perfect in this tart recipe, which was originally published in Anna Pump’s Loaves and Fishes. The tart is quite a process – a crust which has to be refrigerated (but just for 30 minutes, so not really a make-the-day-ahead kind of thing), and then baked in two phases, and the herbs get smashed into a pesto … it’s kind of a thing. I messed up the entire kitchen for this masterpiece, but it was worth it. This is the kind of siren song that keeps me coming back to Ina, year after year, cookbook after cookbook.
Part of the recipes calls for draining some of the liquid off of the tomato-herb-garlic mixture, but retaining the solids for the tomatoes in the tart. I added the herby liquid to some steamed green beans, which was a perfect first course while we waited for the tart to bake.
Dishes like this make us think things like, “We could totally be vegetarians.” We would totally not be skinny vegetarians, though, with that crust and that cheese. But it’s so worth it, and I’m already looking forward to leftovers tomorrow.