While I’ve always loved the abundance of farmers markets in the city during the summer, I thought it would be a bit more gratifying to grow my own vegetables this year. Admittedly, my garden quickly became my newest obsession. At the end of May, I planted a variety of peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, herbs and tomatoes, and so the wait began. Gardening is definitely a lesson in patience that I wasn’t entirely prepared for. I literally checked for any sign of a tomato every day, for 45 days, not that I was counting. Finally, this past week, I was able to harvest the fruits of my labor as the first of my tomatoes ripened.
It should be no surprise to me that I was really most excited about the tomatoes. They’re the state vegetable (technically a fruit) of New Jersey (where I’m from), they’re the base of Bloody Marys, and they’re the focus of La Tomatina, an annual Spanish festival where 150,000 tomatoes are thrown at people, which is on my bucket list. Personally, I feel that I worked way too hard to throw my tomatoes around, so instead I started integrating them into almost every meal I cooked. I made the usual suspects: caprese salad, and bruschetta. They were good, but left me wanting something different.
I got more adventurous with seabass en papilotte on the grill (think foil packet), a tomato and mushroom ragu for pasta, and finally an herbed goat cheese and tomato galette.
The winner by far was the herbed goat cheese and tomato galette. I love that it also made use of the herbs I was growing and was versatile as a light dinner, brunch, or picnic item. Interestingly, cooked tomatoes have more nutritional benefits than raw ones, so the next time you’re looking for a perfect, simple, summer meal, try out this galette recipe.
Herbed Goat Cheese Tomato Galette
1 12-inch round of rolled out pie dough (Check out The Chopping Block's Owner/Chef Shelley Young’s video on pie dough)
8 ounces goat cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
1 shallot, sliced
2 tomatoes (home grown preferred!), sliced, sprinkled with salt and left on a paper towel for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, mix the thyme and basil into the goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread herbed goat cheese on pie dough, leaving a 1 inch border.
Arrange sliced shallots over herbed goat cheese.
Arrange sliced tomatoes over herbed goat cheese.
Fold edges of pie dough over, leaving center of filling exposed.
Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.
Garnish with remaining basil and herbed goat cheese as desired.
If you enjoy the galette and are looking for some more interesting ways to enjoy tomatoes, check out our class You Say Tomato at the Merchandise Mart on Monday, August 29 at 4:30pm and Friday, September 23 at 1pm. You’ll learn how to make an Heirloom Tomato, Peach and Basil Salad and a Tomato Tart with Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese with Arugala Salad. We also have an hour-long class on Fried Green Tomatoes and Remoulade on Friday, September 16 at 1pm. Our new Supper in a Snap series focuses on tomatoes on Monday, September 26 as we teach you how to make Flank Steak with Roasted Tomato Chimichurri. Our Lincoln Square location will be hosting a Farmers Market Tour and Cooking Classon August 25th for anyone interested in maximizing your trip to the farmers market!