Cheese Week! Tomato, tomahto.

“So, as Cheese Week continues here, will my cholesterol be significantly higher?” This was the question put to me by my husband as he reached for his third slice of today’s featured recipe.

“Can I have something else, I don’t think I like this,” came the complaint from my son as I told him what we were having for dinner that evening.

Men. Somedays…

Despite his voiced dislike of this recipe, our son loves tomatoes. And he loves pizza. So while we investigate the root causes of this rare dislike, let’s talk about why this recipe made it to Cheese Week.

For one, we finally had harvestable tomatoes over the weekend. For another, we’ve made it before and have all loved it – there’s a neat little trick to keep the tomatoes moist without making the crust all soggy. Lastly, you can find some delicious, locally-made mozzarella from some of the vendors you’ll meet at the upcoming Minnesota Cheese Festival, such as Bongards’ Creamery, or Ellsworth Creamery (they recently bought the Blaeser’s brand). So there’s no good excuse not to make this, if you ask me. And it comes together fairly quickly, you could probably make this at home once you’ve returned from your trip to the Cheese Festival.

This has been an appetizer we’ve shared at pot lucks. It has also been the centerpiece of a summer supper – for Cheese Week we kept some cooked shrimp chilled and added a little cocktail sauce for dipping the shrimps. If I weren’t in my current maternal state, a crisp, dry white wine would have been the perfect accompaniment to this satisfyingly cheesy meal.


Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

(From the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)


  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ounce Parmesean cheese, grated (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes (8 ounces), cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick – NOTE: yes, the plum tomatoes’ shapes might be prettier, but if your garden tomatoes are coming in, don’t hesitate to swap out for your own favorite.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, shredded (approx. 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

Adjust an oven rack to the lower position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Lay the pastry in the center of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the pastry with beaten egg.  Even if you think you don’t like to eat the finished product.


Fold about a half-inch of the edges of the puff pastry over; score along the middle of the folds’ sides with a paring knife to form a rimmed crust. Sprinkle the Parmesean evenly over the crust bottom. Poke the dough uniformly with a fork. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Meanwhile, spread the tomato slices over several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt and let drain for 30 minutes. (This is that handy trick to keep the juices from the tomatoes just right and not drown the rest of the tart.)


Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the crust bottom.


Press excess moisture from the tomatoes, using additional paper towels. Layer the tomatoes evenly over the mozzarella. Whisk the olive oil and garlic together and drizzle over the tomatoes.


Bake until the shell is deep golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then sprinkle with the basil.


Slide the tart onto a cutting board and slice into pieces. Enjoy.

Say, have you signed up for the chance to win a free pair of tickets to the Minnesota Cheese Festival yet? Just check out the bottom of this post for the quick and easy details, and add your name. The giveaway closes this Friday – don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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