Carter Cooks: Tomato Tart

Potlucks have been a part of my life since before I can remember. My mother tells a story that when I was a baby my first outing was to a shape note sing and a potluck dinner.  The early exposure has stuck with me.

Potlucks are a great way to show off your cooking skills and try a little bit of everything. I first tried this recipe for a potluck in New Orleans and have adapted it to my own preferences over the years. Now it’s a favorite that my family often requests.  I only make it around this time of year because the tomatoes really are the star and you need good ones to make it a stellar potluck dish.

Tomato Tart

Adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World: New Orleans

From the Market

Tomatoes

Goat Cheese with Herbs

Rosemary

Basil

From the Pantry

1 ½ c. Flour

½ c. Unsalted butter, chilled

2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. salt

Black pepper

Olive oil

  1. Make a pie pastry. In my opinion, the easiest way to make a pie pastry is with a food processor.  You can make it by hand if you have a bowl and a pastry cutter.
  2. Add the flour, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and as much rosemary as you would like (around 1 Tbsp) to the food processor. Pulse until mixed. Cut your chilled butter into about 8 pieces. Add it to the food processor. Pulse until you get a crumbly texture. Then slowly add cold water to the food processor while it is blending. You will need about 3 Tbsp. of cold water. Stop processing as soon as the dough comes together.
  3. Turn out your dough on saran wrap or wax paper. Form a ball and chill.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425.
  5. Roll your chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. It should be about 1/8th of an inch in thickness. Put your dough in a tart or pie pan. Prick the bottom of the tart with a fork to let steam escape during cooking.
  6. Bake your tart shell for approximately 20 minutes. However, you will want to check your shell after about 7-8 minutes. When you check it, you should push down the puffing interior with your hot pad. (This is a baker’s trick to ensure a flat-bottomed pie or tart. It’s easier than using dried beans or pie weights) It will force the steam to escape out of holes you pricked earlier. You may need to do this more than once. But make sure you do it before your shell sets.
  7. Once the pie shell is golden brown, pull it out and let it cool.
  8. Meanwhile mix up the goat cheese so that it is spreadable. I typically use around 6-8oz for the tart. Spread the cheese in the cooled tart.
  9. Layer slices of tomatoes all over the cheese. I’ll often do two layers of small cherry tomatoes.
  10. Slice basil on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil.
  11. Place back in the oven for approximately 5 minutes, just enough to warm the cheese.
  12. Serve immediately and Enjoy!

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