For most people, Labor Day signals the beginning of pumpkin spice lattes, sweaters, and fall colors, but here in Louisville we are still in the heat of summer – literally, because it’s 93 degrees today. And we’re still in the dead of tomato season, the best time of the year to really appreciate all the flavors of tomato varieties.
So this Labor Day, why not make the most of summer’s tomato bounty with Fresh Tomato Tarts? These tomato tarts are easy to prepare and can be an appetizer or first course. Add a side salad and some fresh fruit and you have a full meal. You can make the tarts in a variety of tart pans, either individual or large, and depending on the tomatoes you have, you can mix up the look of the tarts themselves.
I have even made a large batch of tarts, baked them, and then I froze extras to pull out a week or so later. But we rarely have any leftovers so this doesn’t happen often.
If heirloom tomatoes are still available in your area, these tarts are best with heirloom tomatoes. The colors are beautiful and the taste in incredible. Although really, any fresh local tomato will shine in this recipe! Enjoy!
Fresh Tomato Tarts
Makes (4) 4 inch tarts or (1) large 9 inch tart
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded Italian blend (Parmesan, Romano and Asiago) cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 1/4 pounds mixed tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Freshly ground pepper
Make the crust: Pulse the flour, cornmeal and fine salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and 3 tablespoons Italian blend cheese; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter.
Drizzle in 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough comes together; add 1 more tablespoon ice water if necessary.
Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.
Put the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9 inch tart pan. You also can use a 9 1/2 inch deep dish pie pan or (4) 4 inch tart pans. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges. Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the crust with foil, then fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and continue baking until golden all over, 10 to 15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Make the filling: While the crusts are baking you can make the filling. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, thinly slice the tomatoes; toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a colander. Let drain, gently tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes. Make sure you drain as much liquid off the tomatoes as possible.
Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup Italian blend cheese, the mozzarella, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons each chives and parsley, the thyme, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper, and the sauteed onion in a bowl. For an extra layer of flavor, I like to throw in just a pinch of Bourbon Barrel Foods Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt.
Spread in the crust.
Arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with pepper. Top with remaining chives and parsley.
Bake until the tomatoes are browned, about 50 minutes.