I am not a pie lover. Shh, don’t tell anyone. Most pies are ok, but it’s rare that I’ll voluntarily choose to eat pie. That said, I love making and eating my apple pie (which is really a crisp). And peach pie is one of my favorites, but I’d rather go savory. I’m much more of a quiche girl, which really is just pie as a meal instead of pie as a dessert. So does it surprise you to learn that I made a tomato tart last week and ate almost all of it by myself over the course of three days?
I didn’t think so. But hey, tomato tart. That’s healthy. Ish. Kind of. Ok, more so than French silk pie, right? Help me justify. I need to, because it was that good. And I’ll probably do the same again.
Is it the prettiest pie you’ve ever seen? No, but if you’ll recall, this was the pie dough I made last week when I had my migraine. And that food processor pie dough is pretty darn tasty. Even if it wasn’t so pretty this time around.
1 pie crust, my recipe, your recipe, or another method
6 large ripe tomatoes with lots of flavor, preferably something heirloom
3 cloves garlic
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c bread crumbs (again, I’ve used Panko for 15 years, and it’s still my favorite – and no one’s paying me to say that… yet!)
1 T herbes de Provence
1 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded (shred your own, it melts better and tastes better) – and I just might have not even measured this and just put on enough until I liked it.
Start by preparing your tomatoes. You can go ahead and put your crust into the pie pan or tart pan, but then stick it back in the fridge so it stays nice and cold. You want to peel, seed, and dice your tomatoes. It’s not nearly as hard as it sounds.
To peel your tomatoes, you need to quickly blanch them. Get a pot of water simmering on the stove. Then cut a shallow X on the bottom of each tomato.
Have an ice bath ready for the tomatoes for when they are done blanching. Easiest way? Get a decent size bowl, fill it with a bunch of ice from your freezer. Add water, swishing the bowl as you do so to ensure that the ice doesn’t freeze into a giant block and instead stays separate cubes.
Now your’re ready to blanch the tomatoes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully place a couple tomatoes into the water. Let them sit for less than a minute before you fish them out. Immediately place them in the ice bath. I get into a rhythm with this where I will have two tomatoes in the ice bath, two tomatoes in the water, and two tomatoes being peeled and the timing of it works for me. Figure out what works for you.
Once the tomatoes have cooled for a couple minutes, pull one from the ice bath. You’ll notice that the skin around where you had made your shallow X is peeling back by itself.
Simply take the skin, and pull it back. You’ll be amazed by how easy it is to peel. This also works for other fruits like peaches and the like, when you need to peel those.
Now the tomatoes are ready to seed and dice. You want as much liquid out of the tomatoes as possible. To do this, the first step is seeding. Cut the tomato into pieces. For a medium size tomato, six is usually enough. For a larger tomato, I may need 8 or even 10 to ensure that each seed membrane is accessible to me. Pick up a slice, run your thumb on the edge of the seeds, and they all pop out. Do this for each tomato.
Go ahead and dice them. You want them about a quarter inch square, but exactness isn’t important. Once they’re diced, I like to wait a little to get the more water out. I’ll put them in a colander and let the juices seep out for another twenty minutes or so. Although the breadcrumbs help keep the tart from being soggy, the more juice you remove up front, the better. While you’re waiting is a good time to go ahead and mince your garlic cloves.
Now you’re ready to put it all together. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix the breadcrumbs with the herbes de Provence and 1/4 cup of your Parmesan cheese. Place this in the bottom of your pie crust, evenly covering the surface.
Now that your tomatoes have released their juices, go ahead and place them into a small bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to your tomatoes. Stir it up and taste to make sure the salt and pepper is at a good level for you, remembering that you’re still going to be adding a ton of Parmesan, so the salt can be a little light.
Place the tomatoes gently onto the bread crumbs, ensuring it is in an even layer. Place the rest of your shredded Parmesan atop the tomatoes. Place the tart into your 400 degree oven, and bake it until slightly browned, around 45 minutes or so.
This is great while still hot, or you can serve it room temperature. Trust me, it’s awesome either way. This works wonderfully as an appetizer, or you can be like me and eat it for your meals. Yes, it makes an awesome breakfast. Just sayin’.