Tomato Tart with Cheese
Serves 6 with drinks, 4 as appetizer
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed enough to open it without cracking at the folds
2 large ripe tomatoes, cored
salt and freshly-ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
2 to 3 ounces fresh goat cheese or Feta cheese
Handful of fresh basil
Open the puff pastry and set it on a baking sheet. With a small, sharp knife, score a border 1/2-inch from the edge of the pastry, going about halfway into the pastry. Measure the dimensions of the pastry inside the border (you’ll see why in a minute), then sprinkle the Gruyere evenly inside the border. Set the pastry aside in the fridge, uncovered.
Slice the cored tomatoes about 1/8-inch thick. Put a triple thickness of paper towels on a large plate, and lay the tomato slices on the towels, overlapping slightly, to make a square or rectangle of tomato slices about the same dimensions as the area inside the border of the pastry. You may have some slices left over, you can set them aside for garnish if you want (or eat them immediately!). Sprinkle about a teaspoon of salt over the tomatoes and let them sit for an hour.
Take an additional rimmed baking sheet at least as big as the one holding the pastry. A half hour into the tomato resting time, put the sheet upside down on a rack in the middle of the oven, then preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. You can also use a baking stone, but allow at least 45 minutes of preheating.
Using additional paper towels, blot the tomatoes dry. Don’t be afraid to press on them, they can take it! Lay the tomato slices over the pastry in more or less the same pattern as they were on the plate, staying within the border of the pastry. Sprinkle with some ground black pepper. Break off small pieces of the cheese and scatter them evenly across the tart. Carefully put the baking sheet containing the tart in the oven on the upside-down baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the border puffs and browns nicely, and you see a little color on the cheese. Remove from the oven, and scatter torn fresh basil leaves over the top. If you like, you can chop some of the extra tomato slices and sprinkle them on too.