A Little Slice of Heaven

Tomato and Roasted Garlic Pie.  Amen.
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If you haven’t used Taleggio before, well what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to try it. Don’t be put off by the smell; this cheese has a very mild flavor and is an ideal complement to fresh tomatoes. Never having even heard of the cheese before, I was surprised at the consistency which is very soft and similar to Brie. The directions indicate to coarsely grate the cheese (which I deleted), but I can tell you, there’s no way in the world one can grate Taleggio!

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This is the block of Taleggio cheese as I unwrapped it. Can you imagine trying to grate it?

Once the rind is removed—no easy task—just add the cheese to the bowl with the mayo and parm and it’ll all mix together just fine. As far as the star of the show, the tomatoes, I suggest cobbling together a combo of different color and sizes of the heirloom variety to end up with a show stopper.

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You will need a 9″ spring form pan for this recipe. When pressing the crumb mixture around the spring form pan, I used a straight drinking glass to press the crust into a uniform thickness along the bottom and sides. In the end however, the corners where the sides met the bottom were too thick and I’ll have to be a little more diligent the next time around—and of course there definitely will be, in the near future!

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Because the grocery store was oddly enough not carrying the Red Oval Farms brand of wheat crackers that I prefer, I picked up some Wheat Thins brand which have a slightly sweeter taste. For pie number 2, I will make sure to get the preferred brand.

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This is not one of those quick throw together dishes and out the house you go. Plan on around two hours to make, and at least one hour to cool before serving. But once you have a slice of this celestial beauty, you’ll be hearing the angels sing, and praising the Lord for good tomatoes. How divine!

Ingredients

  • 2½ pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, cored, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 9 ounces Stoned Wheat Thins or other whole grain crackers
  • 2 large eggs
  • 10 ounces Taleggio cheese, rind removed (about 1½ cups)
  • 2½ ounces finely crumbled Parmesan (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme, plus ½ teaspoon leaves
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 475°. Arrange tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, covering entire surface (it’s okay if they overlap). Drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes begin to look dry on top, 25–30 minutes. Let cool.
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  2. Meanwhile, cook garlic and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling often, until butter foams and milk solids turn golden, 5–8 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof measuring cup; transfer garlic and toasty bits to a cutting board. Finely chop and set aside.
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  3. Reduce oven temperature to 375°. Pulse crackers and ¼ tsp. salt in a food processor until fine crumbs form (you should have about 2 cups). Add eggs and 6 Tbsp. garlic butter and pulse until mixture is the consistency of wet sand. Transfer to springform pan. Using a flat-sided measuring cup, press crumbs firmly onto bottom and 1½” up sides of pan. Adjust the top edges so that it is not ragged and is consistent all the way around.
  4. Bake crust until fragrant and edge is just starting to take on color, 8–10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let crust cool.
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  5. Mix Taleggio, Parmesan, mayonnaise, chopped thyme, remaining ½ tsp. salt, remaining ¼ tsp. pepper, and reserved chopped garlic in a medium bowl. Gently dollop half of cheese mixture over bottom of crust, then spread into an even layer with an offset spatula (don’t press too hard or you will break the crust).
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  6. Layer half of tomato slices over and press down to even out layers. Repeat with remaining cheese mixture and tomatoes. Brush remaining garlic butter over tomatoes. Top with shallot, then scatter thyme leaves over.
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  7. Bake pie until filling bubbles vigorously and crust is browned, 60–75 minutes. (Mine took 65 minutes.) Let cool at least 1 hour before serving.
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  8. Slide sharp knife between edge of crust and pie pan before removing the outer jacket.

Do Ahead: Pie can be made 1 day ahead. Cover loosely and chill (it’s really good cold).

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Recipe by Rick Martinez from Bon Appétit

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