You know when you get a craving for something & you just have to make it? Well, I had wanted to make a tomato tart for a little while and finally got around to doing it. This post started out something like “with summer produce in full swing and a variety of perfect tomatoes available, blah, blah, blah…”
Don’t get me wrong, I could yammer on about produce with the best of them. I am a big fan of it, in case you didn’t know and let’s be honest… tomatoes are pretty amazing right now. Especially if you can get your hands on some of the gorgeous heirloom varieties. This post was supposed to be light-hearted and fun. But, life isn’t always light-heart and fun, is it? I know that some people probably just let out an audible groan… and that’s ok. If reading about things that aren’t happy and fun isn’t in your plan today, I understand. You are excused. This is about something a little deeper than a tomato tart. Thank you, wonderful farmers for providing the gorgeous tomatoes for this tart, but we are on to a more pressing issue…
I have a couple of friends that are vegetarians and had wanted to have them over for dinner so I thought “Well, this is perfect timing!” I will make the tart, have them over, open some wine and we will have a perfectly delightful evening. Only, it didn’t happen that way. Life rarely happens the way we think it will, does it?
So, I had invited them over and I was jarred when I read the response. “T’s father died. She is there, will be home tomorrow”. Needless to say, this had been a sudden event and all I could think of was my friend and the pain she was feeling. This tart now had a purpose. I had offered, as one does when there is a death, to take food over to them upon her return home.
As soon as I knew my friend was “ok” for lack of a better term, my first instinct was to feed them. I know it is about easing someone’s burden during a difficult time, but it is also one of the ways I show love. In that, I know I am not alone. It is about so much more than the food. It is about letting someone know you are thinking of them, caring for them, caring about them. That is what you are doing when you provide them with a meal, especially during a time when cooking dinner is the last thing most people want to think about.
About an hour later, I received a text saying “yes, hungry… bring it over” and off I went.
I wrapped my arms around my her and let her know that I loved her and if she needed anything, I was there. That is all I could do. It’s all any one of us can do. I hate those moments in life when “helpless” is the only way to describe how I feel.
So, we sat. We ate cheese. We drank wine. We ate the tart. We had more wine. We talked. We laughed. She showed me photos of her parents when they were young and told stories about them. It was a terrible reason to be together, but it ended up being a wonderful evening. I know that sounds like a strange statement, and I suppose it is, but it was a celebration of a life well lived.
This tart started out as something to fulfill a craving I had and ended up nourishing my friends and giving us the opportunity to spend a few hours together talking about everything that had happened, allowing for my friend to tell stories and process and even have a few laughs. It seems like such a simple thing, to bring food to someone when they’ve have lost someone, but the truth is, it is about so much more than that.
Support. Love. Community. Friendship. Togetherness. That is what it’s all about.
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 pound cake flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3 fluid ounces ice water
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled into small chunks
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 6 perfect tomatoes, thinly sliced + a few grape tomatoes, halved, for the middle
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- fresh thyme
- salt & pepper
- 9" tart pan with removable bottom
- Cut butter into small cubes. Combine flours, salt and baking powder. Cut butter into the flour mixture until the largest pieces are the size of peas. Stir in water until dough holds together. Pat dough into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
- Sauté onion in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
- Unwrap dough and roll out, on a lightly floured surface, to roughly 1/8" thick.
- Gently roll dough onto rolling pin and lay inside of tart pan. Press down bottom and sides, making sure to press into every groove.
- Roll pin over top of tart pan to evenly "cut" dough across the top.
- With a fork, poke holes in bottom and cover dough with a piece of foil or parchment paper.
- Place beans or pie weights inside and bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes. Remove foil and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Place onions in the bottom of tart in an even layer, sprinkle goat cheese on top of onions.
- Shingle tomato slices around edge of tart, place grape tomatoes in the middle, cut side up. Season again with salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and thyme leaves on top.
- Bake at 400 degrees until cheese is burnished and bubbly, about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary.
- Prep time includes resting time for dough. The active prep time is less than 30 minutes.