Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Pesto Tart {Get to Know a Farmer}

Heirloom tomatoes and marinated mozzarella balls snuggled under a blanket of garlic scape pesto and more mozzarella make a rich savory tart--or delightful breakfast.

Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Pesto Tart {Get to Know a Farmer} | Farm Fresh Feasts

If you read one of those 13 Farmers Market Secrets Savvy Shoppers Share type articles, one of the tips is invariably "get to know a farmer".  Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share is a terrific way to get to know a farmer.  For the duration of the growing season you'll have the opportunity to visit with the folks who grow your food.  This "get to know a farmer" stuff can pay off deliciously [and for me the payoff is usually locally grown tomatoes].

There is nothing better than a locally grown tomato.

Tomatoes have seasons.  Some get off to a quick start like cherry tomatoes and early varieties. Some take their sweet time growing and setting out fruit, to the point that you think they'll never amount to anything, but once they get going they're unstoppable 'til frost.* Some suffer setbacks early on--like nibbling from varmints--yet recover to become a big bushy productive plant.  They are a lot like kids, now that I think on it.
I'm talking about tomatoes, and getting to know your farmers, today for the simple reason that this recipe happened, last November, because I got to know our farmers. See, my spouse spent last tomato season in Afghanistan. He missed out on eating fresh tomatoes and our daily lives [not in that order]. Sure, they fed him from May to November. But he always returns from deployments super skinny so I'm always frantically cleaning planning menus with all his favorite foods when I know he's heading home.

It was with this mindset that I asked our farmers in early November if they had a spare tomato. I'd canned all the ones from my garden, and we'd had oh, easily 12+ weeks of various ripe tomato varieties in the farm share. I'm sure most folks were more enthused about the prospect of a sweet potato. But I wanted to make my spouse a tomato sandwich, so I emailed our farmers with the request.  You may, if you love local tomatoes, understand the sheer delight when my newly-returned spouse and I went to pick up our farm share and Farmer Josh disappeared for a moment then returned with not one but 4 gorgeous heirloom tomatoes.  Swoon! In addition to that sandwich I had enough for this tart--double points for a rich tart that's one of my spouse's favorite tomato dishes.

Get to know a farmer.  It's so worth it.

Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Pesto Tart {Get to Know a Farmer} | Farm Fresh Feasts

I'm putting this recipe up in the summer, but I need to tell you it's really delicious in the fall, when the nights are a bit cooler and I'm happy to turn on my oven to bake. If you can somehow maintain a cool bedroom and bake this tart, knock yourself out.
Discerning readers will notice that this tart is another riff on my Green and Gold Basil Tomato Tart and Mediterranean Tomato Tart.  This time I've used garlic scape pesto, a delightful concoction that I eagerly await in the springtime and hoard in the freezer, doling out sparingly to dishes that truly deserve it.  This dish truly deserves it.

Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Pesto Tart {Get to Know a Farmer} | Farm Fresh Feasts
Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Pesto Tart {Get to Know a Farmer} | Farm Fresh Feasts
Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Pesto Tart {Get to Know a Farmer} | Farm Fresh Feasts
Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Pesto Tart {Get to Know a Farmer} | Farm Fresh Feasts

Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Pesto Tart

pie crust for a single crust pie (yes, I remain chicken and use the box)
2 medium tomatoes, sliced into wedges and drained briefly on a cutting board
2 Tablespoons + ¾ cup shredded Italian blend cheese, divided
14 "cherry size" ciliegine marinated mozzarella balls (plus more for snacking while you cook)
½ to ⅔ cup garlic scape and basil pesto, or plain basil pesto
¼ cup mayonnaise
optional--grated parmesan to shake over top of the tart before baking

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Slice the tomatoes and set aside to drain a bit onto a towel. Place the pie crust in a tart pan or pie plate, press into the sides, and prick with a fork.  Cover the crust with aluminum foil.  Bake 8 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 4 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Reduce oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Top the prebaked crust with 2 Tablespoons shredded cheese and all the marinated mozzarella balls. Arrange the tomatoes over and around the cheese. Mix 3/4 cup shredded cheese with the pesto and mayonnaise.  Spread the pesto mixture across the top of the tomatoes. Add parmesan if desired. Bake 35-45 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Serve hot, warm, or straight out of the fridge for breakfast the next morning.

Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Scape Pesto Tart {Get to Know a Farmer} | Farm Fresh Feasts

*Sure, tomato ripening is slowed when the night temperatures drop below 50, but that's not the plant's fault. If the air was warmer those plants would keep on producing.

This post is shared on What's Cookin' WednesdayClever Chicks Blog Hop, Tasty Tuesdays

6 comments:

  1. This is really beautiful! My grocery store has been stocking local Long Island grown heirloom tomatoes for weeks now, and I keep holding my breath that they'll still be there every time I go in. I'm making a simple pasta with my stash tonight, with fresh mozzarella, goat cheese and basil. I'm very excited for it! I should try your pie, too. And I still think you should brave making your own pie crust! :)

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    1. Julie,
      Shoot, if your grocery store has local tomatoes in June, I'm pretty sure they'll continue to have them through September!
      Can I come eat at your place? Sounds delicious.

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  2. After 40+ years of hating tomatoes and their products, I recently discovered that I actually like *green* tomatoes just fine. I had a lovely goat cheese and tomato pie (most were green due to early spring, I am guessing as they try to cook local) that I surprisingly loved. I am looking forward to your green tomato recipes come this fall when there isn't enough time for your tomatoes to ripen on the vine.

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    1. Heather,
      You're inspiring me yet again--I've got 2 quarts of canned green tomatoes left, and I think I need to try this. I also saw a recipe for a green tomato and raspberry cobbler in a 13 yr old Cooking Light magazine (in the doctor's office, where else?).
      I'm so glad your taste buds are growing up!

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  3. Wow, I can't even begin to tell you how badly I want this. I also love that you included mozzarella balls for snacking in the recipe.

    I've gotten to know my farmer at the market and lately the pretzel man and today he gifted me with my very own rosemary garlic Kaiser pretzel roll. It's still in the testing phase but he wanted me to have one. How about I share my roll for a slice of this tart?

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    Replies
    1. Meghan,
      I will make that trade with you--pretzel rolls were a new thing for me once we moved to Ohio, and I like them. Rosemary garlic sounds like an excellent combination, though the Kaiser part makes me sing Weird Al lyrics "It's the Rye or the Kaiser or the Wheat or the White" . . .

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