Do you ever wonder why — or get irritated when — food bloggers talk about the weather in their posts? I can’t speak for everyone else, but as a four-season vegetable gardener (and a big fan of locally grown food), the weather plays a big roll in my weekly menus. I might post just two or three recipes per week, but with 18 other meals to account for that I don’t really mention here, I can assure you, Mother Nature is firmly in the driver’s seat in my casa, and at the farmers’ market.
Take August, for example. August is prime tomato season because it’s sunny and hot … and tomatoes love heat. In the home garden, they’ve spent cooler July blooming and setting fruit, and then August arrives with her blazing temps, and all that lovely fruit gets on about the business of ripening. August is positively brimming with tomato dishes — panzanella salads, caprese salads, tomato sandwiches (some fancy, some just simple and delish on plain ole bread with mayo and lots of salt and pepper and childhood nostalgia).
Except when August is cool. Cold, even (we had several mornings in the low 50’s — blanket weather). Then your tomato plants spend weeks hanging heavy with loads of green tomatoes.
It’s rare, but it does happen. I had a burst of ripening tomatoes at the end of the July, but since then, it’s just been me and my reliable cherry tomatoes.
While Mother Nature tortures us home gardeners with super finicky Brandywines and Black Krims, she does take pity on us with beautiful heirloom cherry tomatoes, which seem to grow and ripen regardless of the weather. I’m already planning next year’s tomato gardens, and I’ve decided to shift the balance of cultivars in favor of cherry tomatoes. They’re monsters to manage, growing 15 to 20 feet tall, given nutrient-rich soil (by summer’s end, the plants against the house will be anchored to the gutter, requiring a ladder to harvest), but they produce consistently and beautifully, and make the best salads, ever.
So, when summer life gives you cold weather and no standard tomatoes, you make gorgeous dishes with the sweet, cheek-pinching cherry tomato.
The rustic, free-form heirloom tomato galette is one of my favorite summer dishes. Hearty cornmeal makes a lovely dough that’s easy to manage and roll out. And since you’re not shoe-horning it into a pie or tart pan, you just go with whatever dough rolling mojo you’ve got going on in the moment.
Round, oblong, square. Trapezoid, parallelogram, scalloped. It’s doesn’t matter — it’s all good.
Pile it high with vegetable goodies — and if you want to sneak in some prosciutto and goat cheese, as I did … super yum — then turn the edges over in a rough, easy-peasy pleat.
One last word about the crust: if you’re a big fan of the crunchy wholesome goodness of cornmeal, as I am, use a medium grind (it will be indicated on the package). If you prefer a smoother dough, use fine grain.
Oh, and the fork in the photos? Just for show. The crunchy cornmeal crusted heirloom tomato galette slices are sturdy enough to eat one handed, like pizza.
Loaded Heirloom Tomato Galette with Cornmeal Crust
for the cornmeal crust
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter sliced into small cubes
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole grain cornmeal use fine or medium grind
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup cold buttermilk lowfat is fine, plus extra as needed
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
for the filling
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 large leeks thinly sliced (whites and light green parts only)
- 2 to 3 ounces prosciutto sliced into small dice
- 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled
- 1 small zucchini thinly sliced into half moons
- 1 small yellow summer squash thinly sliced into half moons
- 1 large handful a dozen or so heirloom cherry tomatoes (slice the larger tomatoes into thirds, smaller in half)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
make the crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the butter cubes in the freezer while you prep the dry ingredients.
- Pour the flour, cornmeal, and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the new very cold butter cubes and use long pulses until the mixture is crumbly. Add the buttermilk and honey, and process until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and clumps together in the bowl. (In the unlikely even that the dough is still dry and crumbly, add more buttermilk, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.)
- Turn out the dough onto a floured board. Roll out into a circle about 1/8" deep. It's okay if the edges are a bit rough. Use a bench knife to gently lift the round from the board and transfer to the parchment paper.
prepare the filling and assemble the galette
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add the leeks and saute until soft with lightly golden edges. Add the prosciutto and mix into the leeks. Remove skillet from the heat to cool for a few minutes. Spread the leek mixture over the cornmeal crust, leaving 1 1/2" clear around the edges. Sprinkle most of the goat cheese over the leek mixture, reserving about 1/4 for topping.
- Shingle the zucchini and squash over the cheese.
- Gently toss the sliced tomatoes with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a big pinch each of salt and pepper. Layer the tomatoes over the squash. Top with the remaining goat cheese, plus a few sprinkles of the herbs.
- Fold the edges of the galette over the filling. Do this in sections, pleating the overlap as you work your way around the crust (repair any tears by just pinching the dough together).
- Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the crust is golden brown and the tomatoes are gently roasted (slightly shriveled). Remove and sprinkle with the remaining herbs. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.