There are still leftover summer tomatoes. Our home’s garden tomato plants are spent now. A few lingering cherry tomatoes cling to weakened, withered branches. Summer’s bright colored vegetables shrivel from the exhausting heat. The tomatillo plants have seen their better days…until next year. However, when Southern California home gardens are void of bright, seasonal and beautiful vegetables (nature’s gifts), we still have the conveniences of local markets importing from abroad. Although the prices are rocketing and the freshness and flavors are not comparable to the pleasures experienced from your own TLC’d gardens, we can still enjoy palatable pleasures in late season treats like this Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart.
This jewel-like cherry tomato tart, adorned with bits and chunks of tangy goat cheese and your preference of peppery basil OR the ever-complimentary lemon thyme is lined with a generous layer of butter-sautéed leeks. To keep the delicate, flaky and buttery crust that surrounds the crust from becoming soggy, a thin layer of sour cream and grainy mustard serves as a protective base coat.
What I liked about this recipe version of a tomato tart is how the texture and flavors hold up, whether it’s served warm or at room temperature. It makes for a fantastic appetizer when entertaining or simply as a side dish. It’s the kind of appetizer that can be started ahead of arriving guests without a lot of fuss on your part to finish it off with the last minute sprinkling of the goat cheese and selected herb. I think a complimentary flavor to this rustic, deliciousness would be the addition of pine nuts! If you enjoy wine, pair this with a crisp white.
This is good, wholesome rusticness…good eats!
- Quik tutorial on cleaning and cutting leeks: How-To Clean and Cut Leeks on YouTube
- The original recipe calls for 2 large leeks. That’s a lot of leeks for this small recipe, so I’ve adjusted to just using half that amount (using 1 leek only).
- Using different sized tomatoes or mixing up the tomatoes for color (like using the red with yellow or orange tomatoes) makes for a beautiful, vibrant display for your tart.
- A really great appetizer or side. As an appetizer, it’s something that can be prepared in advance by adding goat cheese and herbs right before serving. Cut in smaller squares and serve with a crisp white wine.
- I haven’t tried it yet, but a nice addition would be the use of a tablespoon or so of pine nuts (pignolias). If using pine nuts, substitute the thyme for fresh basil and add the basil at the end when the goat cheese is added.
- If you add the goat cheese when the tart is hot out of the oven, the cheese will melt into small blobs. Let the tart cool a couple of minutes before adding the goat cheese (preference).
All-purpose flour for rolling
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 tablespoon low-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large leek, white and green part only
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 – 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes, halved OR other larger tomatoes sliced to 1/4-inch thick
2 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out puff pastry to an approximate 12-inch square, using the all-purpose flour as needed on your working surface. Transfer the rolled out pastry to the prepared parchment lined baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mustard and salt/pepper to taste. Spread the sour cream mixture evenly over pastry (use fingertips or pastry brush). Fold over the edges of pastry about 1/2-inch on all four sides and press down to seal. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes while you prepare the leeks.
Halve leek lengthwise and slice 1/4-inch thick. Place sliced leeks in a bowl of cold water and distribute leeks in the water to break up the slices. The grit and dirt should drop to the bottom of the bowl and the leeks will float to the surface. Drain leeks in a colander and rinse away any remaining debris. Pat dry.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat and continue cooking and stirring frequently another 5 minutes until the leeks are very soft and starting to look translucent.
Arrange leeks evenly over sour cream mixture on pastry. Top with tomatoes and season with pepper. Bake until pastry is golden brown and crisp, about 25-35 minutes (rotate pan half-way through baking time). Let the pastry cool slightly before topping with goat cheese and sprinkling with thyme (or fresh basil). Cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.