AKA Who You Callin’ a Tart? Oh Yeah, This.
Late summer is my favorite time of year, and it all goes by too quickly, with its lazy weekends, marathon gab sessions (with bonus day drinking!), birthday cake with too many candles, beautiful sunsets, and farmers markets exploding with gorgeous colors and flavors. August is just the best, and I’m always a little sad to turn the calendar page.
To ward off the impending season-changing melancholy, I am buoyed by the fact that the dog days of summer bring us the best-tasting, most-fragrant tomatoes. And there’s nothing I love more than pairing them with tangy feta and a little tarragon. Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, one of my favorite things to do was defrost frozen puff pastry and top it with tomatoes, tarragon, feta and olive oil, then bake myself a little treat for breakfast or lunch. Now that puff pastry is a big no-no, I developed a crust I use year-round to make seasonal vegetable tarts. But this combo is my favorite. It’s summer on a plate. Happiness in a crust. Juicy deliciousness for your mouth.
This tart, with a green bean salad and a bottle or two of rosé, would make a really nice weekend dinner with friends. Or it’d be a great lunch on a final summer Friday. Or better yet? Imagine it as a lazy Sunday morning late breakfast, eaten in bed with someone you love and a pile of newspapers strewn all around you.
Tomato Tart with Feta and Tarragon
I like using red and yellow (or orange tomatoes) for visual effect, and because I like the different acidity levels in all different kinds of tomatoes. This tart is super easy to put together, and you can play around with the ingredients, if you like. You can use a little more feta. You could even top the tomatoes with thinly sliced fresh mozzarella. Prefer dill or oregano instead of tarragon? Go for it. This is a solid base recipe you can use as is or customize to your liking. If you can’t find saffron for the crust, it’s OK to leave it out. I like including saffron in my savory tart crusts because I feel like it adds a little more depth of flavor.
Total Time: 1 hr 45 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Rest Time: 1 hr
Yield: 6-7 servings; one 9-inch tart
For the crust (makes two crusts; you can freeze the second one, as you need only one for this recipe):
1-2 pinches saffron threads
1/3 cup cold water
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup teff flour or oat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
For the rest of the tart:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Add the saffron to the water and let it “bloom” while you prepare the rest of the ingredients for the crust.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flours, starch and xanthan gum.
Add butter and pulse until it looks like coarse meal.
Pour in the saffron water and keep the food processor running until the dough comes together in a ball, or at least three or four large chunks.
Divide dough into two equal balls and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place one dough ball between two pieces of wax paper or parchment paper and roll into a thin 10-inch disk.
Place a shallow quiche dish or tart pan upside-down over the dough and invert it into the pan. Trim the edges of the crust as needed.
Brush the surface of the crust with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season the oiled crust lightly with kosher salt (not too much, as the feta is salty) and black pepper.
Layer the tomato slices evenly on top and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Top with tarragon and feta.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.