Adapted from 101cookbooks.com by Heidi Swanson
Makes one 9 or 10 inch tart
This is a recipe that really pushes your heirloom tomatoes to the forefront! The crust contains parmesan cheese but you could play around with other types of cheese such as asiago or aged gouda. The crust is pre-baked, filling the house with the smell of toasted cheese, and provides a simple platform for your gorgeous tomatoes. Leave the tomatoes uncooked. The key is to add salt and let them drain on paper towels for a few minutes before using them. Assemble the tart just before serving. It’s a beauty!
6 colorful, medium-sized heirloom tomatoes – washed and sliced 1/6-inch thick
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, well chilled + cut into 1/4-inch cubes
4-ounce chunk of good fresh Parmesan, microplane-grated (you should end up with about 2 cups loosely packed grated cheese. Save any leftover grated cheese for sprinkling on the crusts when they come out of the oven.
2 tablespoons ice cold water
2 tablespoons best quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup slivered basil
Special equipment: tart pan(s), pie weights, paper towels
Preheat the oven to 350° F
Prep the tomatoes:
To avoid a soggy crust later on, you need to rid the tomatoes of some of their liquid. Clear a space on your counter and put down a double layer of absorbent paper towels. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the paper towels and sprinkle them with about 1 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt. Top the tomatoes with another layer of paper towels and press gently. Let the tomatoes sit here until you are ready to use them.
Make the tart crust(s):
Place both flours, butter, and Parmesan in a food processor and pulse quickly about 25 times. You are looking for a sandy textured blend, punctuated with pea-sized pieces of butter. With a few more pulses, blend in the 2T of ice water. The dough should stick together when your pinch it between two fingers. Pour the dough into the tart pan. Working quickly, press the dough uniformly into the pan by pressing across the bottom and working towards the sides and up to form a rim. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes.
Bake the tart crust:
Pull the tarts out of the refrigerator and poke each a few times with the tines of a fork. Cover the tart with a square of aluminum foil and fill generously with pie weights. Place on a baking sheet and slide the tart onto the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, pull the shell out of the oven and very gently peel back and remove the tinfoil containing the pie weights. Place the uncovered tart back in the oven, weight free, and allow to cook for another 10 minutes, or until it is a deep golden brown in color. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little shredded Parmesan (this will act as another barrier to the tomato liquid). Let cool to room temperature before filling.
Assembling the tart: Just before serving, arrange tomato slices in a concentric pattern inside the tart shell. Drizzle with your best quality extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with the slivered basil. Serve at room temperature.