I’ve been thinking about making a tomato tart for some time now, but the fact that I live with a husband and two kids who belong to the Anti-Tomato League has kept me from following through. If I cook with tomatoes, the tomato pieces must be mushed down to unrecognizable red bits or else the children get suspicious that they might still be raw. My husband is just as bad. And I’m certain the kids are tomato-averse only because they are influenced by their beloved father – the man who feeds them jelly beans and lollipops at the drop of a hat.
I have one little cherry tomato plant in my garden. It’s a rather sad tomato plant, really. It stands alone, leaning to one side, surrounded by thriving basil and sage and mint. My harvest is pitiful, but each little sweet cherry tomato I pluck off the vine and pop in my mouth gives me at least thirty seconds of joy. My children look at me in disgust when they see me eating tomatoes right out of the garden. I feel so sad for them, these poor children who don’t appreciate the sweet juiciness of a fresh tomato, and I tell them that. They ignore me.
Over the weekend, as we were planning the July 4th meal with our parents, I knew the tomato-eaters would outnumber the three in my family who don’t eat tomatoes. I seized the opportunity to showcase the tomato in a summer tart. Capitalizing on the other fresh vegetables available to us in the markets right now, I added in fresh summer corn and Vidalia onions, those large sweet onions that come from southern Georgia. I held a small sliver of hope that the corn and onions that served as the base of this tart would draw my husband in for a taste.
No such luck. Completely his loss.
As a side note, I wrote about the beloved tomato in this article, published today in the Florida Times Union. My husband swears that he’ll read it, even if he doesn’t agree with the premise.
Tomato, Corn, and Vidalia Onion Tart
This is a great way to use fresh summer produce for a light summer meal or a savory side dish. I use a 12-inch nonstick tart pan with a removable bottom. This tart doesn't keep well for a long period of time - the tart gets soggy if left at room temperature for more than an hour.
A note about the crust: You can either use refrigerated prepared pie crust dough; or you can use a recipe such as this one, but be sure to omit the sugar.
Pastry dough for single-crust tart
2 Vidalia onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced thin
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears corn)
6 ounces grated Fontina cheese
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Fresh ground black pepper
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry dough into a 14-inch round. Transfer to 12-inch tart pan, easing the dough into the pan carefully. Press into the bottom and sides of pan and trim overhanging edges. Prick the bottom of tart with the tines of a fork. Let tart shell chill in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. In a large skillet on medium heat, covered and stirring occasionally, cook onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook until onions are soft and golden, about 20 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook until remaining liquid has evaporated. Salt to taste. Remove from skillet from heat and let cool slightly.
4. In a second skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook minced garlic until it is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
5. Remove tart pan from refrigerator and assemble tart by layering first the cooked onions, followed by the grated Fontina, the corn kernels, and finally the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle top with a pinch or two of salt and fresh ground black pepper. Bake for 1 hour or until tart crust is golden. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Inspired by and adapted from this recipe from Gourmet 1995.