Sometimes choosing new recipes to make in the Summer is a completely overbearing experience. Hundreds of thousands of recipes using the freshest of ingredients – what’s a blogger to do? In the case of this Fresh Tomato Mozzarella Tart with Basil Garlic Crust, it was a no-brainer. I’ve been hanging onto the recipe for 2 years and made it as the local tomatoes were on their way out last Summer with the full intention of sharing it with you…and it totally flopped. Gummy crust, watery filling, and generally a turn-off of a meal.
But I vowed to avenge myself this Summer. I knew it wasn’t the recipe. I knew it had partly to do with the fresh mozzarella that I foolishly used – obvious note to you: don’t use fresh mozzarella in this tart. So I made a special stop this weekend at a local farm stand and picked up a few gorgeous ripe Native tomatoes, plucked some basil from my pots on the deck, and pulled this tart together in virtually no time. Now that I was actually able to eat this tart, I fell head over heels for the ever simple tomato-basil-mozzarella combination all over again. The basil garlic crust was crispy and amazing, the perfect complement to the fresh [now] roasted, sweet, and earthy tomatoes, and gooey mozzarella. A sprinkle of basil over the top of the baked tart is the last piece of this puzzle that no longer confounds me. We served this tart alongside some grilled shrimp but a small salad or some grilled chicken would be great options as well. I don’t know about you, but I’m itching to make this again as the Summer rolls on and the tomatoes really come into their own later this month.
source: adapted from Jack Bishop’s The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook via Ezra Pound Cake
- 1 recipe Basil-Garlic Tart Dough (recipe follows)
- 8 ounces sliced mozzarella
- 1-2 large, ripe tomatoes (about 1 pound), cored and cut crosswise into thin slices
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Prepare the dough, and press it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. A 9-inch pan works as well – you’ll just have some leftover dough which you could use to make a small galette with any leftover ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of the tart shell with mozzarella. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in a ring around the edge of the tart and a second ring in the center. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has started to brown in spots, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before slicing. (The tart may be covered and kept at room temperature for 6 hours.)
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 to 10 pieces
- 4-5 tablespoons ice water
- Place the basil and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until finely chopped. Add flour and salt; pulse to combine.
- Add butter. Pulse about 10 times, or until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs.
- Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing several times after each addition. After 4 tablespoons water have been added, process the dough for several seconds to see if the mixture forms a ball. If not, add remaining water. Process until dough forms into a ball. Remove dough from processor.
- Flatten the dough into a 5-inch disk. Wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be placed in a zipper-lock plastic bag and refrigerated for several days or frozen for 1 month. If frozen, defrost the dough in the refrigerator.)
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Lay the dough over the tart pan, and press it into the pan. Trim the dough, and proceed with the recipe as directed.