A few months ago I bought some phyllo dough with the intention of creating something fantastic out of it. It languished in my freezer for quite a while before a near-empty fridge made the decision for me that it was time to play with that phyllo pastry. So with a bit of store bought pesto, a couple of beautiful looking tomatoes and more olive oil than I cared to admit, I turned that phyllo into a pretty stunning tomato tart.
Phyllo has a bad rap, but I’m here to dispel the myth. It’s not hard to work with it. Really. Repeat it 5 times. Trust me. All you need to have a successful go is a damp tea towel and a bowl of olive oil–plus a pastry brush. Phyllo is thin and brittle and tears like a mofo but don’t sweat it if your sheet of phyllo rips in two. No one is going to notice once it bakes up. It’s very forgiving that way. However, phyllo does dry out quickly which is the reason for the damp towel, so cover up what sheets you aren’t currently slathering olive oil onto and you’ll do just fine.
As for my tomato tart? Totally impressive in taste and appearance. Cornelius wondered why I called it a tart when he figured it should be called a pizza. Whatever, I’m being fancy so tart trumps pizza. Serve this for guests and they’ll think you pulled out all the stops, so just bow and accept your accolades. I just made it on a Sunday night when it was just the two of us watching a movie (Zodiac, btw, which was sooooo beautiful in terms of lighting and camera work and made me swoon, as did my eternal crush, Mark Ruffalo).
One more thing totally food unrelated, next week, I’ll be taking a little birthday road trip to the wilds of central and north eastern Oregon. We’ll be around Bend, the John Day area and the painted hills for some camping and hiking. If anyone has any good food recommendations or cute towns or great thrift shops we must stop at, fill me in! We’ll also head to my favorite city, Portland, for a couple days as well. Send me your recommendations please!!
tomato phyllo tart
6-8 sheets of phyllo dough, defrosted if frozen
1/3 c really good olive oil
3 T pesto
4 farm fresh tomatoes, sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 bocconcini, sliced thin
1/3 c parmesan cheese
1/3 c fresh parsley, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep your work area by making sure you have got your olive oil and pastry brush at hand. Oil up the bottom and sides of a baking sheet and then rinse a clean tea towel and squeeze it dry. Open up the phyllo package and unroll the sheets of dough. Remove 1 sheet and then immediately cover with damp towel. Place sheet on baking tray and brush with olive oil. Repeat until you have several layers for the base and create a rim along the sides by folding over the edges slightly. Wrap up tightly any unused portions of phyllo and return to the fridge for another use.
2. With the same brush used for the olive oil, brush on the pesto into an even, thin layer. Layer tomatoes over the pastry, followed by the onions and then sprinkle on the garlic. Add the bocconcini and parmesan and then top with parsley.
3. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until the phyllo turns golden and crispy. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes, then cut into squares.