I get kinda sad during this time of year. I don’t like to see summer go because I’m so not a winter kinda gal. I wear flip flops until late October. My feet freeze and I don’t even care because, I just can’t let summer go. I know. I have issues.
Last week, to make myself feel better and soak up some of the last few rays of summer sun, I took a walk around Union Square Green Market with my 7 month old in tow. Since I went freelance and quit my full-time job, I don’t get to the city that often. I have to admit, walking around the market with only ONE CHILD felt like a total treat for me. I was in my glory perusing all of the gorgeous produce. I wanted to take everything home with me. Then I remembered that I had a 19lb baby strapped to my chest and suddenly, those heavy-ass squashes didn’t seem all that appealing. I grabbed one small delicata squash to make my little one a yummy puree and some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes because, well, they were calling my name. Seeing the abundance of ripe and juicy tomatoes overflowing each stand was just too tempting to ignore. You know they must have looked good if I was willing to schlep them AND a chunky baby in an Ergo all the way back home to Brooklyn. Plus, ripe, juicy tomatoes felt like the perfect way for me to bid adieu to summer.
The whole train ride home, I kept peaking inside my bag like I had some sort of secret treasure. People on the train must have thought I was up to something. Then again, how threatening can one woman look with a drooling baby on her lap? Note to self: he’s cute and makes an excellent decoy. But I digress…I fantasized the whole way home about how to eat those beauties. The tomatoes were beefy and ripe. I certainly could have just served them on their own with a sprinkling of salt, but I wanted to do something a little more special. Still, covering up that bright, fresh and delicious flavor would be a crime. I knew I didn’t want to do too much to them because covering up a perfectly ripe tomato would be a crime, so I decided to make one of my simple tarts. No cheese. No other veggies. Just tomatoes with a little seasoning, baked on top of a light and airy puffed pastry crust.
This technique for making this tart is so awesome. Once I learned to score the puffed pastry like this, it became my go-to crust for toppings savory and sweet. It’s fool proof and always comes out gorgeous and so impressive. I highly recommend keep a box of frozen puffed party in the freezer for those times when you need to throw something together last minute for company. This tart is so ridiculously easy, you’ll want to make it again and again and not just for company. It’s perfect for breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner. For a sweet treat, try this crust topped with Nutella and chopped nuts or add mozzarella to this recipe for a light and airy pizza margherita. No matter what the combo, you can’t go wrong.
Tomato Tart with Spicy Garlic Oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sheet puffed pastry
3 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup basil leaves
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.
2. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until you just begin to smell the garlic, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. Place puffed pastry onto prepared baking sheet and score a 1-inch border around the entire sheet with a pairing knife (make sure you don’t press too hard, you only want to score the pastry, not cut-through). Prick the pastry with a fork inside the score lines.
4. Place tomatoes onto the tart in three rows, overlapping them slightly. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle tomatoes with spicy garlic oil. Put tart into the oven and bake until golden and puffy, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and top with fresh basil leaves. Allow tart to cool for 1-2 minutes before cutting into squares.