Sometimes it pays to watch the show. A lot (if not all) of the original videos are available at pbs.org or YouTube. I don’t always look up the video, since most of the recipes are clearly written and easy to do. But I had some time to kill, so I found the show online and I’m really glad I did. A key moment comes around 19:40 minutes in. She asks Johnny (the baker who contributed this recipe), “you don’t season them or anything, you just put them in?” She’s talking about the tomatoes specifically, and the tart filling in general. It’s a good question. She’s sort of saying, “aren’t these going to be a little bland? Basil is good. But no garlic, onion, or salt and pepper?” I think this tart needs a few upgrades. So here’s my version of the Tomato & Cheese Galette.
It’s mid-June, so there are no tomatoes or basil in my garden yet. (Come back in about three weeks.) I’ve got lots of other herbs growing, so I chose rosemary (thyme would’ve been good, too.) Cherry tomatoes are the tastiest tomatoes available right now at the grocery store. I bought red and yellow ones. Someone mentioned that roasting makes even mediocre tomatoes taste great, so I decided give that a try.
First, we need to make the dough. Corn meal is the secret ingredient here. It makes all the difference. I found this locally ground cornmeal when we were driving through VA. It came in a paper bag tied with a string.
You mix the dry ingredients and cut in the butter. A pastry blender is helpful here, but you could use a fork, or your fingers. The recipe says to leave largish pieces of butter (about the size of a pea), to help the dough stay flaky.
Then you mix water with sour cream and add that to the flour mixture. Mix it just until it comes together to form a shaggy dough. Mine didn’t need any additional water, although you may need a teaspoon or two.
You divide it in half and wrap each piece in plastic. The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least two hours. It was pretty easy to roll out, since it was cool that day. The next day, I made another tart with the second half of the dough. It was much hotter in the kitchen and I had a harder time.
Here’s where I deviate from the recipe. I took about 3 cups of cherry tomatoes and tossed them with chopped rosemary, a tablespoon of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. I put them on a (foil-lined) cookie sheet and roasted them in a 325°F oven for 18 minutes, until they browned a little and collapsed.
That may’ve been a little too long, but browning=flavor. It also gets rid of some of the liquid so the tart won’t get soggy. If the skins bother you, it’s easy to pick them off.
Next, you need 4 oz. of shredded cheese. The recipe calls for half mozzarella and half Monterey jack. There’s nothing wrong with these cheeses, but they’re a little boring. I used mozzarella, Santa Teresa (a sheep’s milk cheese) and Parmesan. You want to have your filling ingredients ready before you roll out the dough, since it’s hard to handle if it warms up too much. So, you roll the dough, put the cheese in the middle, top it with the tomatoes, and fold the dough over in pleats.
Ready for the oven. Pretty, right? I baked mine for about 40 minutes. It came out of the oven a beautiful golden brown.
It smelled so good, I had to have a piece as soon as it cooled down enough to slice. The cornmeal in the crust adds a nice crunch and the melted cheese mixed with the tomato juices to form a delicious filling. I can see making this many, many times over the next few months—varying the cheeses and herbs. What did you guys think? Was this a winner at your house?