Finally, they’re here. Those juicy orbs of heirloom tomato goodness have arrived at the markets and in our back yards, and they’re making us all look like gourmet cooks. Slice ‘em up, splash them with extra virgin olive oil and salt, and you feel like Mario Batali.
What could be easier to eat? And yet – during this foggy, cool summer – harder to grow?
To celebrate the farmers of the future, reserve a spot at Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center.
The all-day tomato-mania includes high-end tomato dishes from chefs, heirloom tomato tasting, garden tours and even a celebrity chef cook-off . Tickets are $65 and go to the School Garden Network, which helps grow the farmers of tomorrow. To reserve, go to kj.com or call 800-769-3629.
Baker extraordinaire Mary Bergin of Sur La Table made this tempting Heirloom Tomato Crostata last year at the tomato festival, and it’s as easy as pie if you have a food processor. The rustic crust just needs to be folded over itself at the end.
Heirloom Tomato Crostata
For the dough:
8 ounces all-purpose flour
6 ounces unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small cubes
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water for egg wash (or 3 tablespoons heavy cream)
For the Tomato Marmellata:
2 to 3 large heirloom tomatoes, quartered and seeded
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 large sprig basil
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon cream
Maldon Sea Salt, to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated, for optional garnish
Place the flour and the salt in a food processor and pulse for 2 or 3 seconds. Add all of the butter and process with off-on turns until it resembles coarse meal. Slowly add the water through the feed rub while casino pulsing on/off. Keeping pulsing until the dough just starts to come together and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Frisage the dough (use the heel of your hand to blend it together) and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight.
For Tomato Marmellata:
Heat a medium saucepan over high heat, add olive oil, tomatoes, basil and season with salt and pepper. When the sauce starts to bubble, turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook until the mixture is no longer watery and starts to thicken, about 30 minutes or so. Cool completely.
Roll out the dough to 1/8th inch thick on a silpat with a little flour ot keep the rolling pin from sticking. Transfer the silpat and rolled out dough onto a baking pan, fold the side by making pleats, and brush with a mixture of egg and cream. Sprinkle the dough with Maldon salt and bake until dough is golden. Cool 10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with finely grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.