Nothing says summer better than a red ripe tomato. Especially if it comes from your own garden.
And as summer is a time for relaxing, here’s an easy recipe that will be a great starter for any meal, indoors or outdoors. Or a main course, depending on your appetite and how many slices you eat!
You’ll need a zippy mustard. French’s mustard in anything but French. It may be great on a red-hot at the ballpark, but real French mustards have some serious zing to them. There’s a shop on the Place de la Madeleine in Paris owned and operated by Maille. Their mustards are made fresh - with no preservatives - and the shop has three of them on tap, literally, from three different porcelain spigots: plain, whole-grain and another (wine, I think).. That way, when your classic mustard pot is empty, you can come and have it refilled, which is fun in and of itself.
As for the cheese, this recipe calls for fourme d’Ambert, which is a mild blue cheese. It’s one of France’s oldest cheeses - as far back as Roman times - and comes from the Auvergne region in the Massif Central mountains. It’s made of cow’s milk, like the similar but stronger-tasting bleu d’Auvergne, and unlike Roquefort, which is made of sheep’s milk and creamier. You can use any of these, but the drier fourme doesn’t make the pie crust wet. Choose one that suits your tastes. I once had to make it with the bleu cheeses I found in a supermarket in Michigan: a regular bleu and a gorgonzola. So having a lot of people to feed, I made one of each and found that the gorgonzola was too tame, taste-wise but the bleu was great. Both came in crumbled form - which is nice because even if you do find a real fourme, it’s not that easy to cut it thin. With crumbled cheese, I just sprinkled it as evenly as I could over the whole crust, and it turned out just fine.... and fast.
Serve the tourte with a side salad, followed by fresh fruit or a fruit tart, for an even more summer-y experience.
- a ready-made pie crust (preferably with the least sugar)
- 4 oz of fourme cheese (or another light-veined bleu cheese)
- spicy mustard
- Preheat the oven to 300° F (150°C). Prick the pie crust and place some dry beans in it to keep it from buckling. Cook it until it’s golden brown. Take out the beans.
- Spread mustard thickly but evenly over the bottom of the pie crust.
- Cut the fourme cheese into thin slices and lay them out to cover the pie crust. Or sprinkle the crumbled cheese evenly.
- Slice the tomatoes thin and lay them out over the cheese.
- Grind some fresh pepper over the top. (No salt; these cheeses are salty enough!)
- Put the tourte back in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Serve with a full-bodied red wine, like a Côtes-du-Rhône, Gigondas, Saint-Joseph or Châteauneuf-du-Pape.