Maggy and I are both getting a little sweaty in the heat of Becky’s Salt Lake City Kitchen. The tomatoes are roasting, the olives have been pulsed into garlicky, briny, tapenades, and Becky is snapping away as Maggy and I work the dough for our two tomato tarts.
It started as an idea to highlight summer’s best seasonal ingredient (the tomato, duh!), a way for a few food-blogging girl friends to make lunch together, and then Becky (of The Vintage Mixer fame) had to go suggesting we turn this thing into a competition. Friends/Judges were called, lines were drawn in the sand, and the tomato tart-off was invented.
With the competition heating up, Maggy and I worked feverishly, tasting each component of our tomato tarts. A little salt here, a smidge more vinegar there. I kept my eye on her making sure she wasn’t bribing the judge when I turned my back. I mean, I wouldn’t put anything past her. She may be adorable, but that girl is one fierce competitor. Luckily Becky was monitoring both of us- who can say whether I may have winked once or twice at our friendly judge, Mike, if she hadn’t been keeping tabs.
Maggy’s tart crust was blind baking and the smell of butter wafted its golden scent from the oven. Sealing the empty shell with an egg wash prevented the dreaded soggy bottom and readied the crust for a glorious creamy chevre interior. When I snuck a taste of the muffaletta tapenade Maggy created for the base of her tart, I started to get a little nervous. Big and flavorful, it was salty, crunchy, lemony, and bursting with garlicky goodness, I just wanted to stick my face in the bowl and eat it.
My tapenade, was totally different- a bit spicy from Becky’s home grown cayenne peppers, briny with rich black kalamata olives and just a hint of garlic- the lemon zest shining through at the finish. I took a moment to revel in the way similar ingredients can taste so wildly divergent in the hands of different cooks. My tomatoes, cut thick, and roasted on a bed of red onions were sweet as any summer fruit. In my tart, or galette if you will, the cheese would not take center stage, but would merely festoon the top. I chose French feta made from sheep’s milk. I marinated it in fresh spicy cayenne, red wine vinegar, fresh oregano, lemon zest, and garlic. Marinating cheese is one of my favorite tricks in the kitchen, and I was happy to pass it on to my girls.
With the tarts baked, there was only one thing left to do… no that’s a lie. We’re food bloggers! Before we ate, there were photos. Lots and lots of photos- and how about the food styling? Check out the oregano flowers from Becky’s garden and speaking of oregano, isn’t my moustache spectacular?
When we sat down to eat, I bit into Maggy’s creamy cheesy tart then tasted my light and easy tomato galette. They couldn’t be more different. Our judge had his work cut out for him. Becky stayed mum on her favorite while Mike hemmed and hawed. He called Maggy’s the tart he’d like to eat every day and mine the tomatotier tomato tart. Too nice to declare a winner, Mike asked for more criteria. Finally Becky’s husband Josh stepped in. Since he didn’t know who made which tart, he had no problem choosing the goat cheese and tomato tart a winner. Crushed!
So of course, Maggy Anderson Keet, I’m demanding a rematch. Any time, any kitchen, a panel of judges, and lots of local beer. I must be a glutton for punishment or at least for Maggy time.
- For Spelt Pastry
- 8 oz organic pastry flour
- 4 oz whole grain spelt flour
- 6 oz butter sliced thinly
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 oz water
- (see instructions here)
- For Galettes
- 8 heirloom tomatoes sliced ½ inch thick
- 1 red onion sliced ¼ thick
- sea salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 fresh cayenne pepper or red jalapeño
- ½ cup kalamata olives
- ½ of a lemon + extra peel
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 oz feta cheese (French, sheep’s milk if you can find it)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 sprig fresh oregano
- ½ cup oats
- 1 egg
- Slice tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, and drain in a colander for at least 30 minutes. Once drained, and ready to go into the oven, gently toss with olive oil and a bit more salt
- Make spelt dough using the technique outlined here or use a store-bought high quality whole grain dough (Be sure to look out for hydrogenated oils and dough conditioners like lanolin if you’re buying it) And chill for at least one hour or up to two days.
- Marinate the feta in ½ cup olive oil, a few slices of lemon, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, fresh cayenne pepper, some leaves of oregano, a thinly sliced clove of garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper. Leave at room temp.
- While dough is chilling. Preheat oven to 425º, place onions on a baking sheet, toss with olive oil, place tomatoes on top, and roast for 25 minutes or until soft but still holding their shape.
- Make tapenade by pulsing ½ cup of kalamata olives, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, ½ fresh cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, 1 ½ wide slice of lemon peel, and a heavy pinch of fresh ground black pepper in a food processor. Don’t over process, you want to leave some good texture in the tapenade.
- Separate chilled dough into four equal parts. Rewrap and refrigerate all but the part you’re working with at the time.
- Roll one section of dough into a rough circle, trim the edges to form a circle, then sprinkle some oats on the bottom leaving a 1 ½ inch border, top with roasted onions, then tomatoes, sprinkle the top with a few dollops of cheese and tapenade. Add to that a sprinkle of fresh oregano and a drizzle of the oli that was marinating the feta. Fold the edges up to contain all that is good and pure in this world. Pop the galette in the freezer on a baking sheet while you make the others.
- Preheat the oven to 375º. Rest the galettes in the freezer for at least 20 minutes while the oven gets up to full speed. Prepare an egg wash by beating one egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the pastry before it goes in. Cook for 25 minutes- adding another layer of egg wash in the last 5 minutes.
- Enjoy with friends, wine, beer, and loads of laughter.
All photo credits on this page belong to Becky Rosenthal and I. Thanks Becky for the use of your amazing kitchen, your awesome friends, and your husband’s discerning palate. Check out the recipe for Maggy’s tart here.