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Tomato and Herb Tart

Torta di Pomodori ed Erbe

SERVES 4 TO 6

I love making this colorful tart with ripe tomatoes and fresh herbs from my garden. It is similar to a quiche, but contains no eggs. It is perfect as a luncheon course, and I also often serve it for dinner with soup or salad. You can vary the cheese filling, combining favorites, and change the herbs to suit your fancy. Store-bought puff pastry speeds the preparation time.

Ingredients

3 fresh plum tomatoes, sliced in thin rounds

Salt

2 cloves garlic, peeled

3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

3 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves

3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons Filippo Berio extra-virgin olive oil

1 sheet prepared frozen puff pastry from a 17 1/4-ounce package, thawed

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 pound Swiss or provolone cheese, diced

Directions

Layer the tomato slices in a colander, sprinkling each layer with salt. Let the tomatoes "sweat" while preparing the other ingredients.

With a knife, mince together the garlic, thyme, parsley, oregano, and onion. Place the mixture in a small bowl and blend in the pepper and olive oil. Set the mixture aside.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Lightly grease the bottom of a deep 10 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Set aside.

On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 14-inch circle and line the bottom and sides of the tart pan, cutting off any overhanging dough. Prick the dough uniformly with a fork, or line the shell with dried beans to keep it from puffing up. Bake the shell for 10 minutes, watching carefully so that it does not brown too much.

Remove the shell from the oven, and remove and discard the beans, if used. Immediately brush the bottom of the tart shell with the mustard. Fill the shell evenly with the cheese. Rinse and dry the tomato slices, then place them in overlapping circles over the cheese. Spread the garlic and herb mixture evenly over the tomatoes. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Cool the tart slightly on a rack, then carefully remove the sides of the pan. Place the tart on a serving dish and cut into wedges. Serve warm.

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