It’s that time of year when the tomatoes are at their prime and so is their ardent companion, basil. This delicious dish along with a bowl of fresh garden greens, is fast and easy to whip up for a simple summer dinner. Easy to have the dough made in advance (even the day before) and the ingredients all prepped until just before dinner.
Simple Cornmeal Pastry
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup ice water
1 cup unbleached flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
3/4 tsp fresh ground salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into bits
5 ripe medium-sized tomatoes
1 cup goat cheese
1 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
tsp fresh ground pepper
Stir together the yogurt and ice water. Then mix the dry ingredients – flour, cornmeal and salt – together in another bowl. With a pastry blender or your fingers, blend the cold butter into the flour mixture till it is soft and crumbly. Then add the yogurt and water mixture, stirring gently till just blended. Lightly dust your hands with flour, and form the dough into a loose ball, wrapping it in plastic wrap and storing in the fridge for two hours or more.
Prepare the tomatoes by slicing them into thin 1/4 inch slices, then laying them on paper towels to absorb the excess moisture. (This keeps the tart crisp in texture.) Meanwhile, prepare the basil, grate the Parmesan cheese, and crumble the goat cheese. Set aside.
When cornmeal dough has chilled, roll it out on a well floured board to about 12 inches in diameter. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, sprinkle with a bit of cornmeal, and transfer the tart shell to the baking sheet. The next step is fun – gently with your fingers, fold about 1/2 inch of dough over along the outside edges to make a border for the tart. The idea is hand-made so don’t worry about perfection.
Now, layer the goat cheese onto the prepared tart shell, add some of the basil, arrange the tomatoes in concentric circles and cover with the rest of the basil. Top with the grated Parmigiano and bake for about half an hour till golden brown. Let rest for about 5 minutes before slicing – the perfect amount of time to dress the salad greens with a simple olive oil, lemon juice and salt dressing, and pop the cork on a bottle of chilled dry Prosecco.