A few years ago my husband and I took our (then) six-week old son to Spain. We travelled to Barcelona, Figures and Valencia. The food was incredible, the architecture was magnificent, and the people were kind. Let me tell you, Spain is my kind of country.
Anyway, not too far from Valencia is a little town called Buñol. And every year, around this time, Tomatina takes place. Tens of thousands of revelers hit the streets and pound each other with tomatoes.
The festival is in its 64th year, and I'm hoping that next summer we can go...maybe as a layover on the way back to the United States after we visit my brother and his family? It's a thought.
Well back here in Colorado I've got enough tomatoes to hold my own little Buñol-style festival in our backyard. But not wanting to be wasteful (and thinking it wouldn't be a good idea to pummel Otis, Theo and Omar with the season's bounty), I thought it best to turn them into these two dishes: a Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart and a Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup.
Motherhood got in the way of me grabbing the tart after it baked for 40 minutes...so it was slightly burnt, but it was still delicious! The soup was pure perfection. Tomatoes this time of year are simply amazing and I've got lots of them on hand.
I’m also happy to report that my own tomato plants are finally starting to produce some fruit. I am so excited! Unfortunately we are moving in just a few days, so I will have to pick what is ripe and hope the rest don't die when I attempt a re-planting-transplant-procedure. (If anyone has any tips on how to transplant tomatoes successfully, please, oh please, let me know!) We've got Green Zebras and Black Krims (or are they Black Zebras?). I can't remember because the little sign/name tag became sun bleached. I guess I'll be able to tell once they grow a bit more. I'm looking forward to trying lots of tomato recipes over the next few weeks...they just keep coming and coming!
If you're in Colorado, check out some of the tomato festivals that are happening this weekend. Now nothing can compare to the scale and scope of Spain's festivities, but you can pick-up delicious produce, support local farms, taste some inspired dishes and have a great afternoon. I'm thinking about heading over to Ollin Farms on Sunday (Sept. 2), but we will see how the move goes. Boxes and tomatoes, boxes and tomatoes….
And so it goes! Enjoy.
Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart (Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, The New York Times, with Pâte Brisée/ Tart Dough recipe courtesy of Dorie Greenspan)
Pâte Brisée/ Tart Dough, chilled for 3 hours, and then rolled out in to a 10 inch pie pan (no par-baking)*
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 10-inch tart pan and line it with the pastry. Keep in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
2. Brush the mustard over the bottom of the dough. Slice the tomatoes and arrange over the mustard in concentric circles, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and the herbs.
3. Beat together the eggs and goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the tomatoes. Drizzle on the olive oil. Place in the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is nicely browned. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
* Note: The original recipe uses this recipe for the pastry: 1 yeasted olive oil pastry (1/2 recipe). I decided to use a dough that I've used many times, mainly since I had all the ingredients in my pantry and didn't have to buy anything extra. I also wanted to go with something that I’ve deemed "fool proof."
* * *
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions)
2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped (5 large)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves
3 cups vegetable stock, homemade or good quality store-bought
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (add more to taste, original recipe uses 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup heavy cream
Julienned fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, vegetable stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender. Add the cream to the soup and process it through a food mill into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that’s left. (I don't have a food mill and so I used an immersion blender and it was just fine.) Reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and/or croutons.