Today I am featuring the "Tomato, thyme and mozzarella tart" as the ninth post in my River Cottage Veg Everyday series. Still lots of sunshine and late summer weather today - meaning that we enjoyed this delightful savory tart as a starter to our outside late lunch.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall comments this recipe with the following words "this is a very simple tart to make, using ready-made puff pastry”. In this recipe he suggests various cheese and herb options (such as goat´s cheese, pecorino or blue cheese and basil, rosemary or chives). But, as he so aptly points out, “the basic principle is the same: crisp pastry, soft caramelized tomato, tangy cheese”.
For my version of this recipe, I chose a good-quality puff pastry and for the topping, I opted for some medium-sized vine-riped tomatoes because they are still abundantly available at this time of year. For the cheese I chose to top my tart with fresh organic mozzarella and since the herbs are still growing wild, I picked thyme from my garden to top the tart.
Other than those four ingredients, all you need for this simple and delicious tart is a good quality olive oil* for trickling over the tomatoes. Plus one clove of fresh young garlic, a bit of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper*. And a wee bit of cornmeal for the baking sheet to keep the pastry crisp. And do not forget the eggwash so that you can build a border around your tart with some extra strips of dough and carefully brush the sides so that they will get that extra bit if shiny golden brown color during baking.
Then bake the tart with the tomatoes, sliced garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil for a good 15 minutes in a very hot oven, scatter the cheese over, distribute a few sprigs of thyme on top of the cheese, some more olive oil and pepper and bake again for about ten minutes.
Next time I make this tart, I will add some freshly grated Pecorino Romano in addition to the Mozzarella because I like the delightful saltiness it brings to dishes. And I might leave off the thmye and sprinkle the baked tart with some fresh and wonderfully fragrant basil instead. Also a note on the choice of tomatoes, try to use the least "watery" ones that you will find, as tomatoes have a tendency to make these tarts soggy and that is not what you want.
And last but not least, you should make sure to pre-heat your oven and bake the tart on a low rack, otherwise the bottom will become soggy - although the cornmeal on the baking sheet also helps.
If you own the English edition of this vegetable cookbook, you will find the recipe for the "Tomato, thyme and mozzarella tart" on page 216 in the chapter on "Store-Cupboard Suppers".
- Olive oil "nativ extra" from Bonner Oelmanufaktur (Bonn, Germany)
- Black Kampot pepper from Hennes´ Finest (Cologne, Germany)