This was one of my choices for August because fresh tomatoes would be available at my favorite roadside stand. And a new recipe would be fun to try. Of course, at the time, I wasn’t really thinking about my new work assignment, and maybe more importantly, the Olympics. I love sport, and am a big fan of the games. Of course, I also love Wimbledon, the Tour de France… oh, and my Diamondbacks… it’s gotten to be quite a summer.
So, it will come as no surprise that this ended up being a last minute recipe (again). And for anyone who follows me, there will be another non-surprise – I didn’t really read the recipe. I thought – that I would be brilliant and make some Pesto from some basil I had on hand – oh… Dorie suggested that too… Well, I didn’t even think about that, so I didn’t use her recipe, I used the one that I’ve made forever that I found in a Williams Sonoma book. I like it because it has a nice combination of basil and Italian parsley, which I think is really nice.
The recipe, as Dorie says, is more of a suggestion… I think we’ve read that before. But the nice thing, is that it’s true – a great base for whatever you have available. I thought that some tiny cherry tomatoes piled on top would be cute. I didn’t happen to have any on hand, but yellow or other heirloom tomatoes would be pretty too.
I decided that I wanted to have smaller tartlets (OK, I’ll tell the truth, I just assumed that they would be – I was surprised to see Dorie suggesting a much larger size). I had also thought that I’d make generally square ones, and that I’d use a circular cutter to define the area that would ultimately be depressed, hoping that the centers wouldn’t puff… well, we’ll get to that!
I dutifully pricked the entire middle area. I even froze them for a good twenty minutes. I still took them our half-way and pressed down the centers. And yet. And yet, they puffed – so I squished them down a little at the end too, to make a place for the yummy filling to come. I can understand why Dorie chose her method of baking the pastry between cookie sheets – I like the puff, but it would be good that way too, I think. It will be interesting to see if anyone tried to make them that way.
But altogether, I thought that they were still pretty cute. I had both goat cheese and mozarella, as well as the aforementioned pesto and some olive tapenade, so I thought it would be fun to figure out which combination was best. I layered my ingredients on, then topped with a little pepper and gray salt. I have to admit, they would have been prettier if I’d saved a basil leaf or two for garnish, but… oh well!
I thought these were very fun to make. And what a great way to highlight some beautiful tomatoes (and who doesn’t like cheese too?). These would be very versatile and lovely to serve at a party as well. I could see these even made tiny (cherry tomato)-sized for a nibble, or as Dorie suggests – much larger, perhaps with a salad on top. the crispy, buttery pastry is a great foil for the cheese, sauce and tomatoes.
So which was the taste-test winner here? The classic pesto with mozarella. Both pesto ones were (in our opinion) better, but the goat cheese got edged out in the end. But all of them were tasty, and any wouldn’t go amiss. This was a great idea.