This recipe comes from my late friend, cooking-school owner Peter Kump. Peter always made this tart for summer parties at his house in East Hampton on Long Island. The secret of its success lies in having perfectly ripe tomatoes, which you can only get during the summer from your own garden or at a farmer’s market. I was so eager to prepare this once during the winter that I experimented with baking sliced plum (Roma) tomatoes with a little salt and sugar and it worked perfectly. See the variation at the end of the recipe for instructions on how to do this. Cantal is a French cheese very similar to Gruyère, which makes an acceptable substitute. Another good substitute is Italian Fontina.
This is a perfect lunch dish or hors d’oeuvre. Serve with a green salad for lunch.
This doesn’t make particularly good leftovers because the cheese congeals. Wrap and refrigerate any leftovers and reheat in a toaster oven.
ROASTED TOMATO & CANTAL TART: Slice 8 plum tomatoes, as ripe as possible, and arrange them in a single layer on a couple of pans lined with buttered parchment or foil. Sprinkle very sparingly with salt and sugar and bake them at 350°F (180°C) until they are slightly shriveled and the excess moisture has evaporated, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool on the pans before continuing with the tart recipe, substituting these for the fresh ripe tomatoes.
© 2008 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.