Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cherry Tomato Crostata

Sometimes friends ask me if I really cook all the things I post on Ciao Chow Linda. Well, yes, I explain, and lots more too. Some of the things I cook turn out to be less than blog-worthy though, and that included a tomato ricotta tart I made a couple of weeks. It looked lovely, but the crust wasn't cooked all the way through, as you might be able to tell from the photo below:

  I tried again with the same crust, this time rolling the dough really thin, using a freeform, crostata shape instead of the removable bottom tart pan.  I decided to skip the ricotta cheese in favor of caramelized onions, gruyere and parmesan cheese. And I went with cherry tomatoes, since I still had so many ripening in the garden. (OK, I admit it, aside from the crust, this is an entirely different recipe from the first tomato tart.) The cherry tomato variety I've been growing - "black cherry" - has a darker hue and a sweeter taste than the bright red ones more commonly seen in the markets. But any cherry tomato variety will do for this recipe - even yellow ones. You can cut the tomatoes in half if you like, but this time around, I left them whole. 

Caramelized onions - one of my very favorite foods - are a key component of this dish - . I've always thought that the next time I put my house up for sale, I'd ignore that advice from realtors to infuse the house with the smell of freshly baked bread or chocolate chip cookies. Nope, for my money, you can lure prospective buyers better with the intoxicating aroma of onions sautéeing in olive oil or butter. Bake this crostata for the open house and you might be able to seal the deal. 
The crust is really special too - it's imbued with the goodness of parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and cracked black pepper. Roll it out thinly, then layer the cheeses and caramelized onions on top, leaving about two inches all the around the perimeter for crimping. 
Scatter some fresh herbs (in this case, oregano and thyme) and place the tomatoes on top. 
Bake at high heat (425 degrees) but keep an eye on it near the end, covering the edges of the pastry with aluminum foil if it looks like it might burn.
I served it as a main course, along with romano beans and fresh sweet corn. But this would work great as an appetizer too, cut into smaller pieces.

Cherry Tomato Crostata
printable recipe here


1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 T. finely minced fresh herbs (thyme, oregano or sage)
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly cracked black pepper
1 stick cold butter
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 3 T. ice water

Place the flour, cornmeal, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and sage in a food processor and pulse until mixed well together. Add the butter in small pieces until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add the egg yolk and water and mix it just enough until it starts to hold together. If it looks too dry, add more ice water as needed. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic, then place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. (It freezes really well too.)

1 large, sweet onion (about two cups sliced thinly)
1 T. olive oil
1 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 dozen cherry tomatoes (more or less, depending on how big they are)
fresh thyme
fresh oregano

Cook the sliced onions in the olive oil - slowly - until they turn golden brown. This will take at least 1/2 hour, maybe 45 minutes. Let them cool slightly.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a thin round - about 1/8th inch thick and about 14 inches in diameter. If the dough is too thick, it won't cook all the way through.  Transfer to a large cookie sheet or baking dish.
Spread the cheeses onto the dough, excluding about two inches all around the circumference. Place the caramelized onions over the cheese, then scatter bits of the fresh thyme and fresh oregano over that. Top with the cherry tomatoes, then bring the edges toward the center and crimp together as you go. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 1/2 hour. If crust gets brown too quickly, lower the heat to 400, and cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil.

Bookmark and Share


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Divine! I really love that kind of crostata.



Stacey Snacks said...

Beautiful! I have made everything and anything w/ my tomatoes.......tarts, pies, crostata, and I still have some left......I guess it's tomato jam time.

Melanie said...

This will be great for when company comes over on the weekend. It's quick to make, different, and very tasty.

Chiara Giglio said...

ha un aspetto molto appetitoso, prendo nota perchè a casa mia piacerebbe di sicuro ! Un abbraccio

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Both tomato crostata and tart look delicious! When I use a tart pan I often pre cook my crust empty first to insure a crisp crust, especially if using a high water content filling. It can be a delicate balance of cooking it enough and noy having it burn later when the filling is cooking.

A crostata that is rustic like this, with just onions tomatoes and a little cheese and spices as the main ingredients tastes soooo gooooood! I like your purple hued cherry tomatoes!

Proud Italian Cook said...

This is beautiful Linda, it caught my eye immediately, I love the look of rustic tarts and love how you added the cornmeal!

AdriBarr said...

Oh Ciao Chow, you tart you! That is beautiful. I love the addition of caramelized onions - what depth of flavor they must have brought. Some tomatoes let off so much moisture when subjected to the heat of the oven that I have wound up with more than my share of soggy bottoms. I think leaving them whole is the path of the smart and well-seasoned cook. I enjoy the bite and taste of sweet corn that cornmeal adds to both sweet and savory pastries. All around, I'd say you have created a fine farewell to this year's tomato season. Complimenti!

mimi said...

I would definitely enjoy both of those tarts/crostatas. I much prefer the rustic presentation, just because that's more my style, but that doesn't alter the taste, of course! Here's to garden-ripe tomatoes!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

So pretty and delicious too! I wish homegrown tomato season would last longer so I could try every recipe like this that I love.

Marcela said...

I love it! That looks absolutely delicious!

Claudia said...

Oh looks luscious. Loving the crust. Caramelized onions works for me! I am away and hear we had a frost in the Cities. I am hoping my little pear tomatoes survived and if so - will be making this. Prefer free form crusts. It gives me an excuse to explain why it isn't perfect!