Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart
When I'm invited to a potluck, my culinary inclination goes in one of two directions. Sometimes I want to go all-out in my kitchen, due to either adoration for my fellow potluckers, a latent competitive desire to impress, or just excitement at having an excuse to try out extravagant recipes. And other times I feel the pinch of my budget, and a slight surly resentment at feeding strangers better than I feed myself, and the motivating principle is producing a respectable potluck contribution for about $5. Luckily, there are dishes like this roasted cherry tomato tart, which can satisfy both of these impulses. This tart is crazy elegant, and also ridiculously cheap (especially if you, like us, have tomatoes of all sorts spilling out of your front yard).
This tart takes lovely late-summer tomatoes, and concentrates their flavor with a roast in a slow oven (which also has the added benefit of reducing their moisture content, so your tart won't be soggy). You can skip the slow-roasting step, if you like, and your tomatoes will be a bit prettier and less shriveled, but not nearly so rich. The roasted tomatoes are set on a bed of goat cheese that has been lightened with a bit of egg and half-and-half -- the liquid isn't enough to create a quiche-like custard, but gives the goat cheese a bit of mousse-like softness. The tangy goat cheese perfectly complements the rich tomatoes, and a wee bit of mustard on the base and fresh thyme leaves over the top provide a nice accent without distracting from the summer flavors. It's sure to please any sorts of crowds.
And speaking of group meals (potluck and otherwise), I return to the subject of my all-zucchini dinner party. I know that some of you thought sure, it's nice to read about. But what did it sound like? Well, wonder no more. You can hear an audio dispatch over at The Splendid Table, and see a slide show full of zucchinitastic photos.
Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart
1 9" tart crust, par-baked
~ 1 1/2-2 cups cherry tomatoes (the exact amount may vary, depending upon the size and shape of your tomatoes - if you roast too many, that's not a bad thing at all)
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
8 oz soft goat cheese, such as chevre
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or other herb of your choice), divided
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Halve the cherry tomatoes along their equators, and place them cut-side up in a baking dish. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and place them in the oven for 3 hours. They should shrink up somewhat, to maybe 2/3 their size, but still be juicy. Set aside.
Raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Spread the mustard along the bottom of the tart shell, leaving a very thin layer. In a mixer (or using a whisk or fork and a lot of patience), blend together the goat cheese, eggs, half-and-half, and half the fresh herbs. Pour this mixture into the tart shell. Gently place the tomatoes on top, cut-side up, in an arrangement that strikes you.
Gently transfer the tart to the oven, and bake ~45 minutes, until the filling has puffed and begun to brown, and the tomatoes are caramelized a touch on top. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Sprinkle the remaining fresh herb and a light sprinkling of salt across the top, and serve.