Thursday, August 2, 2012

While They Last

It may be time for speediness around here, but it's also time for tomatoes.  Even if I have to buy them from the supermarket because I haven't quite gotten round to visiting farmer's market, and I'm absolutely challenged at growing...well...anything, their time is now!

Allow me to present a wonderful thing to do with them: tomato and ricotta tart.  It's good enough that I've made it several times now, which is always notable for me.  It pops into my mind spontaneously, even.  That's high recommendation for me.

One of the reasons I keep coming back is the crust.  You will not find an easier one anywhere.  Toss coarse fresh bread crumbs with extra virgin olive oil and press into the bottom of the pan.  

Yes, that's it, I swear.  Crust for the crust averse.  Foolproof and surprisingly good, reminiscent of really good homemade croutons once baked.  How could that be bad, I ask you?  

Well, you will have to wash the food processor, but that's the only fuss involved.  In this case it's worth it.   

Atop this convince-all-nay-sayers crust is layered a ricotta, egg, Parmigiano, and basil filling, and sliced fresh tomatoes brushed with olive oil.  Bake until the tomatoes are almost dry, a touch leathery, and slightly sweet, and you have a lovely, light, summery main dish.  If that isn't summery enough for you, brush the tomatoes with pesto instead of olive oil.  Few things sing of summer more than lustrous tomatoes and a surfeit of basil. 

I do have two warnings about this tart. One is that it is indeed very light.  I now pair it with a salad containing beans or chickpeas for extra protein and staying power.  It keeps me away from the Nutella at bedtime.  Mostly.

The other is that proper farmer tomatoes, which I have used when I've surmounted the laziness barrier, will emit a goodly amount of juices that escape the spring form pan.  Place it on a baking sheet to catch them or prepare to clean your oven.    

Lucky for me, no matter the quality of the tomatoes, they are glorified by the oven time into giving summer it's due. Make this tart and savor both the dish and the season while they last.   

Tomato and Ricotta Tart
Adapted from Martha Stewart's EveryDay Food
Serves 4

2 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup olive oil plus more for brushing over tart
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced beefsteak tomatoes (about three)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a 9-inch spring form pan, toss bread crumbs with olive oil; press evenly into bottom.

In a bowl, whisk ricotta with Parmigiano, eggs, and basil; season generously with salt and pepper.  Spread over crust.  Arrange tomatoes on top.  Brush with olive oil. 

Place spring form pan on a sheet pan and place in oven.  Bake until tomatoes are almost dry, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool and unmold. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

No comments: