Summer Time is Garlic Tomato Tart Time

Labor Day has come and gone, and with it, the end of summer. Radio ads are warning, “cold temperatures are just around the corner”, but my calendar says that nearly 1/3 of the summer remains, and I’m determined to enjoy every last minute of it, my favorite season.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6

Besides, I’m not finished with my summer traditions, one of which is to make a lovely Garlicky Tomato Tart using fresh local produce from “our” organic CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) farm.

The original recipe goes back to my Dark Days of Food, when I was convinced that Cooking Light magazine knew what they were talking about when it came to “healthy” food, removing all things fat, substituting “light” foods void of fat. While not all fats are healthy, the right type of fats are essential to life, explained in The Skinny on Fats, a classic article written by Sally Fallon, author of “Nourishing Traditions”.

Applying the “traditional food” methods of “Nourishing Traditions”, “reforming them”, as my husband says, back to using “real” food – nutrient-dense whole foods – is easy. Where the 1997 version of this recipe originally called for egg whites which replaced whole eggs, and nonfat powdered milk instead of whole-milk, I’ve just simply used the real foods – farm-fresh eggs and grass-fed whole milk which has a beautiful thick layer of cream settled on top.

The Greek Baking-Powder Biscuit crust, partially-baked prior to adding the filling, needed some “reforming”, detailed on another page. Keep in mind that if you plan on using the crust (the tart is just as tasty without a crust!), it must be prepared at least 12 hours ahead of time in order to for the dough’s starches to break down, courtesy of the acidified liquid, into more easily digestible components.

Garlicky Tomato Tart (Reformed & Healthy)

  • 1 (10-inch) Greek Baking-Powder Piecrust
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups chopped seeded peeled tomato (about 1 pound)
  • 1 T sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 T rough-chopped fresh basil
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2/3 c cream or whole milk or half-and-half (I prefer cream)
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1/4 c (1 ounce) shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 c (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Step One: Make the Greek Baking-Powder Piecrust, pressing it into a glass pie dish, covering and storing in the refrigerator for a minimum of 12-hours ahead of filling it. This can be made as far as 3-days ahead of the final baking.

Step Two: On tart-making day, preheat oven to 350°f

Step Three: Remove crust from refrigerator. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Brush 1 tsp egg mixture onto crust. Set remaining egg mixture aside.

Step Four: Bake crust – 7 minutes; cool on wire rack.

Step Five: Tomato base – Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped tomato, tomato paste, salt, and sugar; bring to a simmer and gently cook for 10-minutes, cooking off the excess tomato juice/liquids. Add freshly minced garlic, and cook 5-minutes longer until sauce is thick (mixture will have a pasty consistency). Remove from heat; stir in thyme, basil, and pepper. If the sauce isn’t “pasty”, cook longer. It’s important to remove as much of the liquid as possible. I go so far as to place the paste in a very fine-meshed sieve and let it drip, while also gently pressing to remove excess liquids.

Step Six: Filling – Whisk milk into eggs. Stir in tomato mixture. Arrange sliced tomatoes in bottom of prepared crust; spoon egg mixture into dish. Sprinkle with cheeses.

Step Seven: Baking – Bake at 350°f for 30-minutes; reduce heat to 300°f and continue to bake for another 20-minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)