This past weekend in DC was a beauty and everyone seemed to be doing their best to take advantage of it. I guess after the rather harsh Winter, DCites were more than happy to welcome Spring with open arms. This was most evident at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sunday. During the Winter months, the market had its fair share of shoppers but it was never overly crowded. Imagine my surprise to find pretty much all of DC packed into the small space that the market occupies along the Circle. Lines wrapped around tables at the more popular vendors, while others meandered from stall to stall, anxiously looking for some signs of Spring produce. And I was no different. Although I had a list of specific ingredients, I was still keeping an eye out for anything that marked the change in seasons. And that’s when I stumbled upon these beauties:
I was looking around for salad when my eyes came across a small collection of grape tomatoes occupying a little space on a table. I felt like I’d hit the jackpot! The tomatoes were a rich golden yellow, resembling little balls of sunshine packed into a container. I stood there for a few minutes, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t imagining the tomatoes. That’s also when I remembered a rustic, roasted cherry tomato tart recipe in the April issue of Food & Wine. I snagged two pints of the tomatoes and got in line, looking around as if someone planned to steal them from me. This is what happens when a locavore has been subsisting on tubers for months on end.
Once I got home, I looked over the recipe again and was a bit surprised at its simplicity. The tart dough was easily assembled using my food processor and is hands down my new go-to tart dough. The recipe didn’t call for any additional preparation of the cherry tomatoes besides washing them. At first I thought about dressing up the tart with caramelized onions but decided against it. I’m glad I showed restraint, because had I added the onions, they would have masked the loveliness of the tomatoes. Roasting them brought out their sweetness while still maintaining a bit of their tart bite. A few ribbons of basil, some salt, some pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil were all these tomatoes needed. This was the introduction to Spring my taste buds needed.
Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart (adapted from Food and Wine – April 2010)
- 2 pints cherry (or grape) tomatoes, washed and drained
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbs basil, cut in strips
- For the dough:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 7 tbs unsalted butter, cold and cut in cubes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Place the butter cubes around the flour and pulse until a crumbly mixture is formed.
- Slowly add the cream while still pulsing the flour mixture. Keep adding the cream until the dough comes together into a bit of a ball (you may have a little bit of cream still left over, which is fine).
- Remove the dough from the food processor and move to a lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough a few times until it is smooth.
- Wrap up the dough and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (can stay in the refrigerator overnight).
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9 inch tart pan (can be a round one or a rectangular one) with a removable bottom.
- Once again on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 14 inches. Press the dough into the tart pan and trim off any excess dough.
- Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper and pour them into the tart shell.
- Bake for about an hour and 45 minutes or until the shell is evenly browned.
- Take the basil leaves and roll them into a cylinder. Using a sharp knife, cut the basil into strips. When the tart is done, pull it out slightly from the oven and sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes.
- Put the tart back in the oven, turn it off and let the tart sit for five more minutes. Then remove the tart and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. The tart can be served warm or cold!