There are certain foods that scream summer to me. At the very top of the list is my beloved heirloom tomato. I long ago confessed my deep-rooted love of tomatoes, especially the heirloom variety. During the summer, heirloom tomatoes take center stage in the 1840 Farm kitchen. Like a well-loved house guest, we eagerly anticipate their annual arrival and mourn their loss once we have eaten the last morsel.
We built a new hoophouse this spring in order to extend and expand our heirloom tomato harvest. So far, it has been an astounding success. We have harvested over 100 pounds of heirloom tomatoes this year with more than 90% of them coming from within the walls of the hoophouse.
While the nighttime temperatures have started to dip closer to frost than I would like to admit, the temperature in the hoophouse is warm and the tomato plants living inside appear to be in midseason form. In fact, the temperature inside the hoophouse hit the century mark yesterday. Here’s hoping that we’ll be harvesting ripe tomatoes for many weeks to come.
You might wonder what a family of six could possibly do with over 100 pounds of heirloom tomatoes. I’ll let you in on our secret: we eat every last bite. We share the bounty with other tomato loving friends and preserve sauce and savory tomato jam for enjoying over the long winter in New England.
Mostly, we eat tomatoes. Then we eat more tomatoes. Then we invent ways to eat a few more tomatoes. It’s not an easy job, but someone has to do it.
While we invent new recipes each summer, there are a few family favorites. One of them is roasted heirloom tomato tart with ricotta and basil. When asked what’s for dinner, answering with this recipe always makes for a happy family looking forward to sitting at the dinner table.
Gathering with my family to sit around the farmhouse table at the end of the day and share a meal is much dearer to me than heirloom tomatoes. Finding a way to combine the two is a bonus. The fact that we have put months of hard work into bringing those tomatoes to the table makes it seem a little sweeter. Long live summer at 1840 Farm.
Roasted Heirloom Tomato Tart
serves 4 – 6 as a main course
This recipe was inspired by the Tomato-Ricotta Tart in Martha Stewart Living’s FOOD. Over the years, we’ve made a few changes and this is the version we prefer. I use scraps from the bottom of the pita chip bag for the crust, but good quality bread crumbs or panko would also be delicious. If you don’t have a food scale handy for weighing the pita chips, use an appropriate amount to yield a generous two cups of crumbs.
180 grams pita chips or breadcrumbs
2 ounces (4 Tablespoons) olive oil
12 ounces ricotta cheese
1 ounce grated parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 pound heirloom tomatoes
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan by wrapping the bottom in aluminum foil. Set aside.
Place pita chips in the bowl of a food processor. Process until chips have been transformed into fine crumbs. Add olive oil and process until the mixture is evenly moist. Empty crumb mixture into the prepared springform pan and press evenly to cover the bottom of the pan.
Rinse out the bowl and blade from the food processor. Add ricotta cheese, eggs, and parmesan to the food processor and process until completely smooth. Add basil and pulse until basil is evenly distributed throughout the ricotta mixture.
Carefully add the ricotta mixture to the springform pan. Using a spatula, smooth the mixture over the crumb base to completely cover the pan. Take care not to disturb the crust mixture any more than necessary.
Slice heirloom tomatoes and place on top of the ricotta, overlapping where needed to fully cover the top. Brush the top of the tart with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place springform pan on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until the tomatoes are beginning to dry and the ricotta mixture has become firm and golden.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool ten minutes. Carefully run a thin metal spatula or paring knife around the outside edge of the tart to loosen it from the pan. Unmold the tart, cut into slices and serve warm.