Roasted Roma Tomato Tarte
Makes one 12" diameter tarte
Serves 2, 4 or 6 (depending on size of each slice)
This savory tarte, which uses fresh goat cheese and roatsed Roma tomatoes, is based on a "tarte fine" served at the beach restaurant at Club 55 in St. Tropez. Although their version uses puff pastry and is made in individual tartlets, this version captures the same simplicity, intense flavors and freshness that summer produce brings to our table.
It's a very easy tart to make and doesn't require any baking (except for the pastry crust). Though this tarte could be made at any time of year (when Roma tomatoes are available), it's lightness makes it particularly suitable for outdoor Sunday suppers in the summer. Since it can be assembled several hours ahead and served at room temperature, it's a great a dish for summer picnics or poolside parties.Tarte Shell
Prepare a fully-baked tarte shell as follows:
2¼ cups unbleached flour
½ cup chilled, unsalted butter
¼ cup Crisco
1 tsp salt
6 TBS ice cold water
Cut the chilled butter and Crisco into ¼" cubes.
Mix the first 4 ingredients together in a mixer or with the back of a fork until crumbly. (Do not over work the dough. Mix it just enough to incorporate the butter and Crisco into the flour.)
Gradually add the water and mix only until the water has been absorbed. (IMPORTANT: Do not over mix at this stage. If you do, the gluten in the flour will become elastic and your tarte shell will be about the same texture as cardboard.)
Form the dough into a round flat disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour to let the dough rest.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Roll out 2/3 of the dough for a 12" tarte and fit it into a French-style tarte ring ( i.e.with a fluted straight sides and a removable bottom). (Keep the remainder for another tarte. This dough freezes very well and can be used by simply defrosting and rolling out.)
Gently mold a sheet of aluminum foil over the unbaked shell, easing the foil onto the bottom and up the sides of the entire shell. Fill the unbaked, foil-covered tarte shell with heavy beans or marbles. (This keeps the sides upright until they are baked enough to stand up on their own.)
Bake the shell in this way for about 10 minutes, then remove the foil (with weighting beans). Prick the bottom with a fork in several places (to allow air to escape from the underside) and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the shell is a nice golden brown.
Remove from the oven. Remove the outer ring and cool.
For a 12" diameter tarte, you'll need about 8-10 Roma tomatoes. Prepare as follows:
Wash the tomatoes. Cut off just enough of the stem end to remove the stem and then cut the tomatoes in half (lengthwise).
Place the cut side down on a flat baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a preheated 450° oven until the skins
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Using tongs, pluck the skins off the flesh, while the tomatoes are still hot. Discard the skins and let the flesh cool on the baking sheet until ready to use.
For a 12" tarte, you'll need:
Tarte Shell: This recipe was given to me by a friend, Chef Marc Vogel, and I have found it absolutely fool-proof.
Roma Tomatoes: This is such a meaty tomato it won't fall apart when roasted. If the tomatoes are hard (and appear to be tasteless) when you buy them, roasting them in this way brings out a surprising amount of flavor. Roasted Roma tomatoes, using this same roasting technique, can be used in many other recipes.
Fresh Goat Cheese: Use only a creamy, mild flavored fresh goat cheese. Don't use a dry, crumbly variety.
If this is not available, you could use sour cream, buttermilk or heavy cream to bring the
goat cheese to a spreadable consistency.