Summer Tomato, Olive and Herb Crostata
My baking is pretty "rustic", meaning I'm not very good at making pastry dough and fancy cakes. By taking the shortcut of using prepared puffed pastry and selecting a variety of fresh tomatoes (preferably from your local farmer's market), and including pitted Kalamata olives and fresh garden herbs, this Crostata is an elegantly rustic way to celebrate the flavors of summer. Serve as a dinner party appetizer or as the star of a small luncheon. Nutmeg Kitchens' Magic Mediterranean blend adds a the perfect bit of "je ne sais quoi".
1 sheet of frozen puffed pastry, such as Pepperidge Farms
1-2 baskets of your favorite variety of cherry tomatoes
2-3 colorful heirloom tomatoes cut into chunks
1 cup Kalamata olives coarsely chopped
Fresh garden herbs, such as basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary, finely chopped
1-3 tablespoons of Magic Mediterranean, depending on your taste
½ - 1 cup Freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons or so of all purpose flour
1 egg yolk
Special equipment - rolling pin, pastry scrapper, baking sheet, pastry brush, large spatula, wire cooling rack
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Remove the puffed pastry from its packaging and allow it to defrost while you prepare the tomato mixture, about 30 minutes.
In a medium to large bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, the chunks of heirlooms, the chopped olives and herbs with Magic Mediterranean blend, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper (if needed) and olive oil, using just enough to lightly coat the tomato mixture. You may have roughly 2-4 cups. Set aside.
Lightly dust a level, flat surface with some flour and place the defrosted pastry on it. With the rolling pin, gingerly begin to roll the dough, using gently but firm pressure. Roll the dough out from the center in each directly, creating a somewhat non-conforming square or rectangle. That's OK, this is a rustic tart, remember?
Once the dough is evenly rolled, use the pastry scrapper, if necessary, and roll it back on the pin, wrapping it gently. Unroll the dough on to the baking sheet.
Spoon the tomato mixture into the center of the dough, about 2 cups or so, creating a small hill that spreads out slightly. If you have a lot of mixture, don't use it all; you don't want to overweight the pastry. You can save these leftovers to roast later or include in a green salad to accompany the Crostata.
Beginning on one side of the dough, begin wrapping and folding it around the edge of the tomatoes, making a semi-thick crust. Once the wrapping is done, beat the egg yolk with a bit of water in a small bowl. With pastry brush, "paint" the crust with a light coat of the egg wash. Sprinkle more grated Parmesan over the entire Crostata, crust and tomatoes.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is risen and golden and the tomatoes are bubbly.
With a large spatula, remove the Crostata to a wire cooling rack and let it sit for a few minutes. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
Enjoy with love!
The difference between a bland tomato and great one is immense, much like the difference between a standard, sliced white bread and a crusty, aromatic sourdough. ~ Yotam Ottolenghi