A delicious savory tart like this one makes an excellent starter in place of salad and would also be a great dish to bring to a summer picnic or barbecue. Try the version with prosciutto for an interesting variation.
Makes one 16 by 8-inch tart, serving 6 to 8
Thawing the frozen puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight will help prevent cracking while unfolding it. Be sure to use a low-moisture supermarket mozzarella sold in block form, not fresh water-packed mozzarella. If you prefer to do some advance preparation, the tart shell can be prebaked through step 1, cooled to room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept at room temperature for up to two days before being topped and baked with the mozzarella and tomatoes.
Flour for work surface
1 1.1-pound box frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm), thawed in box in refrigerator overnight
1 large egg, beaten
2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1 pound Roma tomatoes (about 3 to 4 medium), cored and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Dust work surface with flour and unfold both pieces puff pastry onto work surface. Follow illustrations 1 through 6, above, to form 1 large sheet with border, using beaten egg as directed. Sprinkle Parmesan evenly over shell; using fork, uniformly and thoroughly poke holes in shell. Bake 13 to 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; continue to bake until golden brown and crisp, 13 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack; increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
2. While shell bakes, place tomato slices in single layer on double layer paper towels and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt; let stand 30 minutes. Place second double layer paper towels on top of tomatoes and press firmly to dry tomatoes. Combine garlic, olive oil, and pinch each salt and pepper in small bowl; set aside.
3. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over warm (or cool, if made ahead) baked shell. Shingle tomato slices widthwise on top of cheese (about 4 slices per row); brush tomatoes with garlic oil. Bake until shell is deep golden brown and cheese is melted, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes, sprinkle with basil, slide onto cutting board or serving platter, cut into pieces, and serve.
Tomato and Mozzarella Tart with Prosciutto
Follow recipe for Tomato and Mozzarella Tart, placing 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto in single layer on top of mozzarella before arranging tomato slices.
Tomato and Smoked Mozzarella Tart
Follow recipe for Tomato and Mozzarella Tart, substituting 6 ounces smoked mozzarella for whole-milk mozzarella.