Tomato Tart

For the crust:

1¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon Dijon, or whole grain, style mustard

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Pepper Filling:

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 green bell peppers, thinly sliced

2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced (or a combination of red/orange/yellow)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (1 teaspoon dried)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ cup fresh basil, sliced into thin strips

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

For the filling:

1 cup grated fresh mozzarella cheese

3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch slices (different colors look nice)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

To make the pastry: Combine flour, thyme, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add butter pieces and mix together with a pastry cutter or fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in mustard and enough ice water (1 tablespoon at a time) to hold the mixture together, but is not wet. Form the dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (I like to use my food processor when making the crust.)

For the filling: Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over low heat. Add the onions, peppers, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and mixture resembles marmalade, about 45 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated. Add basil, parsley, and garlic; cook, 5 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper.

Bake crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to form a 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom, and pressing pastry into bottom and sides. Trim pastry edges to top of pan and prick bottom of crust with a fork.

Crumple a 15-inch square of parchment to eliminate "sharp" edges and line crust: fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake crust 10 minutes. Carefully remove weights and parchment; bake 10 minutes longer. Allow crust to cool.

Assemble tart: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place tart pan on baking sheet. Spread mozzarella cheese over bottom of tart shell. Top with cooked pepper mixture. Arrange sliced tomatoes, overlapping in a circular pattern, to cover the surface. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley. Drizzle with olive oil.

Place baking sheet in preheated oven and bake 40 minutes. Allow tart to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Tart is good hot, or at room temperature, and can be served as either a main course, or side dish.

Serves 8

Penny Kazmier

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