This dish delivers sublime satisfaction with the colorful heirloom tomatoes of Santa Barbara, all those glorious colors, in a light, and simple to put together - almost foreplay - food. I can find a few good tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market here year-round because I go very early, that said, we will be swimming in them by June, so save this recipe. I can promise you it will become a favorite, as it has for so many of our guests. The original recipe was from my dear friend, Daniella Johnson, I’ve messed with it quite a bit, but the intention and passion is the same.
We also do a VEGAN version with whole fresh organic & pureed fava beans replacing the goat cheese, and toasted hazelnuts replacing the parmesan cheese in the crust.
3 Tbl. water
2 tsp. corn starch
1 1/4 cups (5.6 oz.) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
3 T. grated parmesan
5 oz. cold, cut up butter
2 Tbl. sour cream
1/4 cup olive oil
2 sliced onions
a good splash of white wine
1 Tbls fresh tarragon or 1 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbls. cream, added the last few minutes
6 oz. goat cheese
1 lb good tomatoes (mix of sliced heirlooms & halved cherry toms)
good virgin olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 small bunch basil
To make the crust; fork whisk together the water and cornstarch. Microwave until set, 30 to 40 seconds, stirring halfway through. Seeking a solid gelatinous mass. Refrigerate to chill before using. Once the cornstarch mixture has chilled, combine the flour, sugar, salt, parmesan & pepper and process / pulse until mixed, about 5 seconds. Add the chilled cornstarch mixture and pulse until uniformly ground. Add sour cream & cold cut up butter. Process until it comes together, 20 to 30 seconds. Pat the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate while you cook the onions.
Saute the onions, switch to a medium high heat and cook down to a deep brown with salt & pepper. Add tarragon & white wine towards the end, reduce another 5 minutes, when nearly done stir in cream and reduce further.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough with a firm push of a rolling pin to about an 1/8 of an inch thick. With a thin spatula, lift one side and flop it over your pin, then gently roll the dough around the pin to transfer it to a fluted tart pan, if it tears you can mend it with a bit of water, it is important you do not stretch the dough to fit as it will shrink back where it was while baking. Trim the excess by pressing the dough against the edges of the pan. Prick the bottom a few times with a fork & bake it at 350 on the bottom oven shelf until golden, about 20 minutes.
Spread onions on bottom of tart, dot with cheese, then tomatoes in concentric circles, drizzle with a bit of oil and season with salt and pepper. Hold at this point if you choose to serve later. Broil or bake just to meld and touch with color, top with basil & serve.
Cook with love,
Lynette La Mere, Pure Joy Catering Executive Chef