Summer is starting to come to a close as first marked by my kiddos going back to school (yeah!) and the upcoming Labor Day weekend. It is going to be sultry hot this holiday weekend (in the 100s). I'm really starting to look forward to the change of seasons to enjoy some cooler weather.
One of my favorite things about summer is the tomatoes at the farmer's market. We used to grow tomatoes in our backyard when our daughters were little. Then my husband started planting trees - lots of trees. He has 14 or 17 fruit trees in our backyard: pomegranate, loquat, kumquat, quince, fig and a variety of others. That's some high density agriculture in a backyard that is the size of a postage stamp. Needless to say, we don't have any sun for growing tomatoes anymore.
Fortunately, living in Sacramento, there are plenty of tomatoes. Sacramento is sometimes referred to as Sacratomato. In the height of summer, it isn't uncommon to see 50,000-pound tomato trucks rolling down the freeway headed to a tomato processor to be turned into a variety canned tomato products. Tomatoes for processing aren't the best choice for slicing and eating. The best tomatoes are the heirloom.
We are fortunate to have a spectacular year-round farmer's market just outside of the downtown area on Sunday mornings. It is located under a freeway, which sounds peculiar. The freeway serves as shelter from the sun in the summer and the rain in the winter.
I will most definitely be headed to the market this Sunday to enjoy some more heirloom tomatoes before summer evaporates and cooler weather arrives. The best way to eat heirloom tomatoes is sliced, but Heirloom Tomato Tart is a great way to celebrate the closing of summer.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO TART
- 1 prepared Savory Pie Crust or other pre-made single pie crust
- 1 15-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 to 4 heirloom tomatoes (depending on size), sliced
- 6 to 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Roll crust to fit 11 x 1.25-inch tart pan, pressing into bottom and sides.
- Line tart crust with parchment paper and fill with dry beans to prevent crust from bubbling and baking unevenly.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until thoroughly baked and slightly browned. Remove dry beans.
- While crust is baking, mix ricotta and parmesan cheeses. Add salt and pepper to suit personal taste.
- Spread cheese mixture into baked warm tart.
- Arrange tomatoes on top, filling in gaps with cherry tomato halves.
- Bake an additional 10 minutes or until heated through.
- Serve warm.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma.