Sassy Southern Cooking with a French Twist

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Tart with Fresh Marjoram and Fontina

We’re getting nice and close to the publication launch of Tart Love, so there will just be a few more tart “tempter” recipes on the blog before the book’s actual release on October 1. This delicious and delightfully easy tart makes tasty use of summer’s tomato bounty. Adapted from Tart Love – Sassy, Savory and Sweet (Gibbs Smith, Oct. 1, 2011, by Holly Herrick). Make it in good health and in good times!==========================

Reminiscent of a very elegant and light pizza, this beautiful square tart just dances with flavor. Two-toned tomatoes (I used yellow and red heirloom tomatoes I found at the farmers’ market) are roasted prior to going into the tart to condense their flavor and reduce their juices. This, combined with a protective and flavorful coating of roated garlic paste that forms the first layer of the tart, prevents the pastry from getting soggy. Fat wedges of fragrant, nutty fontina cheese seep Italian goodness into the tomatoes as the tart cooks. A jolt of fresh marjoram and a drizzle of olive oil at the finish, and you’ve got a beautiful dinner for four.

Photo by Helene Dujardin

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Tart with Fresh Marjoram and Fontina

(Serves 4)

Equipment needed: Parchment paper, pastry brush, roasting pan

One 6″ X 6″ square prepared puff pastry (I like Pepperidge Farm)

3 medium-sized fresh heirloom tomatoes – try and find 2 or 3 different colors, trimmed, halved and sliced into 1/8″ thickness

1 whole head garlic

Drizzle best-quality extra virgin olive oil

Drizzle best-quality aged balsamic vinegar

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Egg wash – 1 egg yolk mixed with a dash of salt and a teaspoon or two of water

1 small onion, peeled and sliced very fine

8 thick, 2″ long slices fontina cheese

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh marjoram (or substitute oregano)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Remove the puff pastry from the freezer and thaw according to manufacturer’s directions. Keeping the colors separate, arrange the tomato slices on a baking sheet in an individual layer. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Trim the top off the whole head of garlic and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil and place on an open corner of the baking sheet. Place the tray in the center rack of the oven. Roast the tomatoes until they’ve just shriveled, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely to room temp. Keep the garlic in the oven another 15 minutes, or until it’s softened. Remove the foil and allow the garlic to cool. Drizzle the tomatoes lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. When the garlic’s cool enough to handle, remove the pulp by squeezing the garlic gently, as you would an orange, to extract the flesh from the individual clove casings. Discard the garlic casings and spread the roasted garlic flesh into a paste with the back of your chef’s knife. Cool completely to room temp.

Unfold the thawed, but still cool pastry and arrange on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Press gently to form its (already) square shape. Brush the entire square lightly with the egg wash using a pastry brush. Using the same brush, coat the pastry with a layer of garlic paste (you will be using all of it!) leaving a 1″ “naked” border all around the square. Arrange a single layer of the fresh onions and season generously with salt and pepper, following the lines of the bare border. Arrange the tomatoes on top, forming two parallel, vertical lines of two different colored tomatoes. Wedge four slices of fontina cheese evenly between the tomatoes on each of the two lines of tomatoes. Bake until crisp, brown, and bubbly, about 20 minutes. While the tart is still warm, drizzle with the fresh marjoram, salt and freshly ground pepper and a tiny touch of extra virgin olive oil. To serve, cut into four large squares and plate alongside a fresh, green salad. 




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