This simple summer tart of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil pesto and mild goat cheese baked in a puff pastry case, is absolutely delicious – and as the pastry in question is the ready made sort that you buy frozen, it’s incredibly easy to assemble.
I make my own pesto in large batches and freeze it in ice cube trays but any good quality store-bought pesto will suffice, making this recipe ideal for when you need to drum up something at short notice that’s colorful and bursting with flavor.
Make sure your tomatoes are ripe – always keep them at room temperature as they’ll never ripen in the fridge. If you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, try a sheep’s milk cheese or sliced mozzarella (preferably those balls made from buffalo milk that are packed in containers of water, not the pre-shredded rubbery stuff that you buy in packets).
You don’t have to scatter arugula (rocket) over the top but if you do, serve it right away before the leaves wilt as this tart is best served warm.
(Serves 4 as a main course)
8-9 oz (250g) of frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons of best quality pesto, preferably home made
7 oz (200g) of soft goat cheese
3 – 5 ripe tomatoes (depending on size), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, stripped off the stalk
A good handful of baby arugula (rocket) leaves to finish
Extra-v olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 400F (200C). Roll out the pastry into a rectangle measuring about 9 x 12 inches (22 x 30cm) and place on a greased baking sheet. Lightly brush the edges with beaten egg and fold over approx 1/2 inch (12mm) all around, to create a lip.
Spread the pesto evenly over the base then add the cheese. Arrange the tomatoes on top, scatter the thyme leaves over, drizzle with a small amount of extra-v olive oil and season with a good grind of black pepper.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is risen and golden. Scatter the arugula over the tart and serve immediately; perhaps with a green salad dressed with aged balsamic vinegar and some shaved parmigiano reggiano (real parmesan cheese from a chunk).