One of my favorite (foodie) things about late summer in New England is tomatoes. The problem with tomatoes though, as any tomato growing gardener knows, is that when it rains, it pours, and it’s pouring tomatoes right now! Every shape, size, color, and variety. I keep buying more than I need every time I go to the farmers market, or Whole Foods, or just to the regular grocery store because they are just so pretty. And while I’m contemplating what to do with them, I thought I’d share a favorite recipe, and some reasons to love this fruit (yes, tomatoes are technically a fruit, although the Supreme Court declared them a vegetable in 1893).
Tomatoes are the ultimate Superfood, which means that they exceptionally nutrient dense, and may provide numerous health benefits. They are a rich source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and potassium, which can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, help reduce your blood pressure and boost your immune system. They’re most famous, however, for their lycopene. Tomatoes are one of the richest dietary sources of this potent antioxidant, which has been correlated with a reduced incidence of cancer (especially prostate, breast and lung), cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. All of this, for less than 30 calories per one cup serving!
Health benefits aside, you can’t beat the tomato for its versatility, and that makes it a super food for anyone who wants to get dinner on the table in a hurry. Unlike most other foods, tomatoes taste great whether they are raw, cooked, sliced, chopped, pureed, or juiced. They can also be canned or frozen for a fresh taste of summer in the middle of winter. Whether you pick your own, or stock up at the farmers market or grocery, try a few new recipes before the season is over, and enjoy their great taste and many health benefits.
- 1 head of garlic roasted (see directions below)
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 pre-made pie crust thawed
- 6 oz Gruyere cheese shredded
- 4-5 medium firm tomatoes, cored and sliced
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper
- fresh basil - whole leaves or cut into chiffonade
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly spray a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press pie crust into the pan, and slightly up the sides.
Squeeze garlic cloves out of the skins, and mash with a fork. Spread garlic over the pie crust.
Sprinkle pie crust and garlic with cheese, and then nutmeg and thyme.
Arrange tomato slices over cheese in an overlapping pattern.
Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the 2 Tbs olive oil.
Bake 45-55 minutes until crust is golden and tomatoes are soft, but retain their shape.
After removing from the oven, immediately add fresh basil.
Let tart cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.
To roast garlic, slice off the top of the bulb, just to remove some of the skin, and expose the garlic cloves. Wrap the bulb lightly in foil, drizzle with olive oil, and roast in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour, or until garlic is soft. Remove from oven, and let cool.
I love this recipe as a light summer dinner, with a salad, or as an elegant appetizer with a glass of wine. I’ve also been known to polish off any leftovers for breakfast. Kinda like cold pizza. 🙂
Do you have any favorite tomato recipes? Please share!