It was cold today, freezing even. This was the third downpour of the summer, which is unusual in San Diego, but greatly appreciated. The dogs woke me up by six and I fell back asleep until eight. I drank my coffee, two cups at a time, and lightened to the world crash down around me. Murphy shook a little, you could feel it when you put your hand on his small barreled chest. The birds didn't sing much in the rain, but you could see a squirrel from the back steps, walking the tightrope between two telephone poles.
I never feel alive when I sit home all day. I went out for coffee and got stuck in a downpour. Steam rose up on my glasses and I squinted the rest of the way home. I wanted something warm when I came home, something to comfort me. I craved the tastes of summer--heirlooms, grotesque in their bulging beauty, local chèvre. Laid on a bed of a brioche of sorts, eaten quickly to stay warm and sustain me through the night.
Summer Tomato Tart
Light, fluffy dough, smoky and sweet compote, and goat cheese create this updated mini-pizza. Recipe makes four 4-inch tarts, but can be adapted larger or smaller portions.
For the quick brioche dough (adapted from here)
- 1/4 cup milk, heated to 110*F (warm to the touch)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cup flour, separated + more for flouring board and hands
- 4 tablespoons butter, cubed and cold
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg + 1 yolk (reserve remaining egg white for egg wash)
- When assembling: 6 tablespoons chevre
For the tomato compote:
- 1 large heirloom tomato
- 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 3 basil leaves
- Half of medium-sized shallot
- 2 cloves garlic
- Place milk, yeast, and one cup of flour in small bowl. Allow to sit, covered, for 20 minutes or until top is dotted with small bubbles
- Pulse butter, sugar, salt, and eggs in a food processor for about 20 seconds. Mixture will look curdled.
- Add yeast mixture and pulse a couple times to blend.
- Slowly add one cup of flour through feeding tube with motor on until blended and smooth
- Allow to rest for half an hour
- Turn out onto a heavily-floured board and knead 5-6 times or until elastic
- Allow to double in size in a lightly greased bowl, about one hour (during this time, make tomato compote, below, and preheat oven to 350*F)
- Roll out into roughly a 12x12 square and quarter
- Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Spoon compote into center of tart, leaving a one inch border. Use remaining egg white to seal and press dough in on itself to create a border.
- Dot tops with chèvre and repeat for all four tarts. Brush each with egg white
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned and cheese begins to melt.
- Brush tomato with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Heat grill on medium-high
- Place tomato on grill and roast for five to seven minutes, or until skin begins to crack and is blackened
- Turn over and repeat
- Remove from heat and place aside in bowl to cool before handling.
- Place in food processor, along with basil, garlic, shallot, and more salt and pepper
- Pulse until smooth, but with a few chunks (5 pulses should do it)