Today, I arrived to work to find a bag filled with heirloom tomatoes sitting on my desk. I knew right away they had been left by Brian, one of the men who works in advertising for The Bulletin, who travels to the city from Lancaster, where he and his wife have a small farm. He has been bringing in his goodies all summer, sharing them with the staff, and his tomatoes are incredible. They really don’t even need olive oil, vinegar or basil — a pinch of salt does the job.
While I prefer to eat these gems raw, this recipe still allows the tomatoes to shine. Filled with caramelized onions, corn, and Gruyère cheese, and topped with a layer of heirlooms, this tart makes a wonderful summer dinner. Any leftover makes a great lunch too.
Heirloom Tomato Tart
1¼ C. all-purpose flour
1/3 C. cornmeal
1 tsp. sugar
1¼ tsp. salt
6 T. unsalted butter, chilled
4 T. olive oil, divided
¼ C. ice water
4 medium heirloom tomatoes
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
kosher salt and pepper to taste
kernels from one ear of corn, a scant cup
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ C. fresh tarragon, minced
4 oz. Swiss or Gruyère cheese, grated
basil for garnish
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal sugar and salt. Cut in the butter using the back of a fork or a pastry cutter, until the butter resembles the size of large peas. Mix 3 tablespoons of the olive oil with the ice water, add to the flour mixture, and stir until the dough begins to come together. Gather the dough into a ball, pat into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the tomatoes into ¼-inch thick slices and place in a single layer on a double layer of paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt. Let stand 30 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough out approximately into a 10-inch circle, then transfer to 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. With lightly floured hands, press dough into bottom and sides of pan. Place tart pan on a cookie sheet. Line dough with foil or plastic wrap, fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown. Remove pan from oven, remove beans from center, and place on cooling rack.
Meanwhile, sauté the onions in the remaining one tablespoon of oil over medium heat until slightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the corn kernels and garlic and cook for a minute longer. Add the tarragon and remove pan from heat.
Pour onion mixture into center of tart. Top with cheese. Pat the tops of the tomatoes dry with another double layer of paper towels. Arrange the tomatoes over the top of the onion mixture in overlapping circles. Bake 20 minutes longer or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden.