Tomato Crostada with Cheese and Honey-Herb Glaze
Summer tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a cheesy crust come together in this easy handmade tart
Food, spirituality, nature, parenting, art, mental health, play, adventure … there are so many facets to striving for a wild, peaceful, resilient life. At its core, though, living means eating, and eating is what we do best. While I’ll continue to write serious and whimsical essays and poetry here on Substack, food is my daily passion, so it will have its special place. I whipped up this favorite recipe this weekend in just over an hour to contribute to the second annual Fuck-Covid Driggs World Cornhole Championships Chicken Fry at a neighbor’s house. I had two pints of tomatoes from the farmer’s market, some fresh herbs in my garden, and many scraps of cheese to use up. While “handmade” may be intimidating, this dough is very forgiving. I promise this versatile recipe adapted from NYT’s Melissa Clark is easy, scrumptious, and will get you invited back to next summer's shindig. SAVORY PIE CRUST Makes one pie crust 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 cup), more for rolling out dough ½ cup fine cornmeal ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons), cut into small cubes 1/2 grated sharp cheese 6 Tablespoons ice water 1. Pulse dry ingredients and butter in a food processor or with a pastry cutter until small pea-size balls forms; add ice water a couple of tablespoons at a time until a ball forms. (I use a bowl and hands for this part). 2. Form into a disc 1-inch high, and refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. In a large food processor, you can easily double this recipe. FILLING 1-1.5 pounds of different-colored tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick (or halved if cherry or grape tomatoes) 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3 tablespoons cider vinegar 2 tablespoon honey ½ bunch or the equivalent of any combo of fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, or sage sprigs, plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herb leaves 2 tablespoons good olive oil 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled 1 cup extra-sharp cheese of your choice, grated 1 large egg black pepper and kosher or flaky sea salt like Maldon 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Spread out tomato Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and cover with a heavy plate; let sit to drain some juices. 2. Simmer vinegar, honey, and thyme sprigs for 2 minutes; add olive oil and garlic. Cook garlic for 2-3 minutes. 3. Sprinkle grated cheese over tart crust, leaving a 2.5" border. Arrange tomatoes in a decorative pattern. 4. Drizzle garlic oil over tomatoes, sprinkle with remaining herb leaves, and lay the reserved whole herb sprigs on top. Gently fold the crust up around the tomatoes, making a 2-inch border. 5. Whisk egg and 1 teaspoon of water in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash over the crust and sprinkle the top of the crostata with flaky salt. 6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes until the pastry is deeply golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. ***Note: like most of my recipes, I adapted this to what "was on hand," aka going bad in the frig. This weekend I made two crostatas - one with cheddar for the kids and the other with soft Gorgonzola mixed with a bit of heavy cream spread on the crust under the tomatoes. It rocked!
Until next time, be nice, and have fun!
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