Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cherry Tomato & Three Cheeses Tart

Every year our garden has a "star," that one plant or group of plants that produces an abundance (or over abundance) of gorgeous vegetables. One year it was the bell pepper, we ate peppers stuffed every which way and ended up with jars of roasted, marinated peppers. Another year it was yellow squash. We snuck squash into nearly every dish we made and took squash wherever we went to give away.  Still another year, it was tomatillos -- they grew like weeds and I still can't figure out why they're priced in stores like some rare commodity.  Then there was the year of the Jerusalem artichokes. We had so many, my husband finally just refused to eat them.

This year our garden star is the cherry tomato. For the last three weeks, we've been harvesting about a pint a day of Sweet 100s, Yellow Pears and, my favorite, the orange Sun Gold cherry. These babies are so easy to use up. They make great snacks on their own; sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic, and you've got a tasty pasta sauce. But I wanted to find other ways to use them, so came up with my borlotti bean salad and I made this appealing and delicious tart.

And it's so, so easy. I made it more complicated by making my own ricotta cheese (which is also easy and so good) using this recipe, and I suppose you could really do it up and make your own puff pastry, but I'm not there yet.

Cherry Tomato and Three Cheese Tart
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons pesto sauce
About a pint of cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Chopped fresh basil, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Gently roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface to even out. With a knife, score (don’t cut all the way through) a half inch border around the outside of the pastry as if making a frame. Place scored puff pastry on a parchment-lined or lightly oiled baking sheet.

3. Drain any excess liquid from the ricotta cheese. In medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, gorgonzola and pesto. Mix well. Spread cheese mixture evenly on puff pastry inside of border.

4. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and place cut side up, tightly side by side, inside border.  Drizzle tomatoes lightly with olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and top with parmesan cheese. Brush 1/2-inch pastry border lightly with olive oil.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until pastry is puffed and golden. Let tart cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.

Serves 4

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