‘Tis the season for glorious Summer tomatoes and I can’t get enough. Sweet and flavorful tomatoes of all shapes, sizes and colors have suddenly burst up in our local markets. I truly look forward to no other seasonal fruit or vegetable the way I do tomatoes; Mostly due to the fact that there really is no comparison to a freshly-picked home-grown or farmer’s market tomato. Every year I eagerly await their arrival and pack the kitchen with dozens of bright orbs with which to create as many tomato-centric dishes as I can manage before the season ends.
I picked up some big, lumpy heirloom tomatoes at the farm stand over the weekend, and with the addition of a lovely deep purple eggplant for good measure, decided to make a savory galette. A free-form tart made of thin, overlapping layers of heirloom tomatoes and eggplant nestled into a bed of Gruyere cheese and wrapped in a flaky, cornmeal crust, this is a dish that screams Summer, and pays homage to one of its very best offerings.
For the Cornmeal Tart Dough
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
- 1 large egg yolk, chilled
- 1/4-1/2 cup ice water
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp milk or cream
For the Filling
- 1-1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/8-inch slices
- 4-5 tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch slices
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- optional: freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and/or minced fresh thyme, for serving.
Make the Tart Dough
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt until just combined. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles coarse, pea-sized crumbs.
- Combine the egg yolk with 1/4 cup of the ice water. With the food processor running, add the liquid to the dough until it begins to come together. To test, pinch the dough with your fingers, and if it holds without being sticky, it is ready. Add more ice water, a tablespoon at a time, if needed.
- Pour the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface and press the dough gently together to form a mound. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Make the Galette
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- On a piece of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. In order to keep the dough properly chilled, work with just half the dough at a time and leave the other half in the fridge. If the dough begins to stick, dust lightly with flour.
- Divide the cheese between the two tarts, leaving a 2-inch edge all the way around. Layer the eggplant and tomato slices on top of the cheese, overlapping as required. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the edges of the dough up around the filling, pleating as you go. Pinch together any tears.
- Whisk together the egg and the milk, and brush the exposed edges of the dough with the egg wash. Transfer the parchment paper to a sheet pan, and bake until the crusts are golden brown and the cheese begins to bubble, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool on a baking rack. Serve warm with a sprinkling of Parmesan or fresh thyme.
The tart dough can be made in advance and, if wrapped tightly in plastic, stored for up to a day in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer.