12 August 2010

Summer in a crostata

I'm kind of excited about this crostata.  Why?  Because it features red-ripe tomatoes and herbs picked out from the garden.  Such a good combination of fresh ingredients, with Mediterranean flavors saying "it's summer."

Sunshine, warmth, scents of things growing, relaxation, visits to Europe to visit family--these are just some of the hallmarks of my summer memories.  And I think this Tomato and Feta Crostata fits in with the whole picture.

Starting with a pastry crust blended with fresh basil, I added a filling of salty feta and soft cottage cheese and then topped it with layers of tomatoes.  And tucked between the cheese and tomatoes is a sprinkling of savory fresh oregano.

I think this crostata, accompanied by a green salad, would make the perfect centerpiece for a simple summery supper or brunch.  Or, serve it as a side along with your favorite grilled steak!


Savory Tomato and Feta Crostata
Serves 4-6

1 cup (packed) basil leaves
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
2-3 Tbs. ice cold water

Feta Filling
8 oz. low-fat cottage cheese or ricotta (drained in a fine-mesh strainer for one hour to overnight)
4 oz. light feta cheese, finely crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper

1 Tbs. fresh oregano, finely minced
3 to 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Cracked sea salt, to taste

To prepare the crust: Chop the basil leaves, then add them to a small bowl of a food processor and pulse until thoroughly minced.  Set aside.  In the large bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and butter and pulse until butter is the size of peas.  Add minced basil and continue to pulse until basil is uniformly distributed and dough just begins to show signs of sticking together.  With machine running, add ice water, one tablespoonful at a time, until dough clumps together.  The dough should take on a uniform green color as the basil is moistened and incorporated into the dough.  Gather dough together and wrap in plastic wrap, flattening it into a 1/2-inch thick disc.  Chill dough for 30 minutes.

Roll dough out between layers of plastic wrap, then transfer to a glass or ceramic baking dish, crimping edges decoratively.  Bake for 8 minutes at 450 F.  Check during baking to press down any air bubbles that might form under the crust.  Let crust cool (about 15 minutes), and reduce oven temperature to 400 F.

While the crust is cooling, prepare the feta filling by mixing together the cottage cheese, feta, egg, and freshly-ground black pepper.  Slice the tomatoes, sprinkle the slices with salt, and let them sit for a few minutes to draw out some of the moisture.  Pat tomato slices dry with paper toweling.

Spread feta mixture evenly over the crust, then sprinkle with oregano.  Layer tomato slices in concentric circles, starting at the outside edge, and then sprinkle the tomatoes with sea salt.  Bake at 400 F for approximately 30 minutes.  Let crostata cool slightly (about 30 minutes) to let juices redistribute and the cheese filling to set before slicing and serving.


Lauren said...

Ohhhhh, that looks so good! Your tomatoes are beautiful!

Kim - Liv Life said...

This just looks like summer! Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Yum! That looks so yummy, I love the basil in the crust!


bake said...

I made this today and it was very delicious!

erica said...

yay! So glad you enjoyed it, bake! :) And I love getting your feedback on it!

Emily Malloy said...

Absolutely beautiful!

molly said...

this looks delicious!! i just showed this to my mum because our garden is being taken over by tomatoes!!!!

erica said...

Yes, this is a great way to use all those tomatoes! Yum!

Sommer said...

I am the only tomato lover in the house- so I can eat this all to myself. Looks incredible and so fresh!

Mary said...

I made this recipe yesterday and it is wonderful. Thanks for sahring on tasty kitchen. I will signup on your site now and invite you to take a look at mine www.marysbites.com
Thanks again,

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