In the Kitchen: "Calabrian" Tomato Tart

I found this recipe last summer in the newspaper. I gather it's an adaptation of a recipe that originally appeared in a cookbook called Mediterranean: Hot and Spicy.

I'm here to tell you: this falls into the seriously-good category. I've made it many times since, winter and summer.

Make sure you start with good ingredients: ie, use real Romano and good olive oil (if you go that route rather than using lard.) (Which, frankly, I think you should: the butter adds a lovely rich dimension.)

 Add some sausage or proscuitto or olives or basil or whatever. It's GOOD. It tastes great warm or cold. Make it for parties. Make it when you're sad. Make it for someone you love. Just make it.

One note: as with any pastry, don't overbake it. The crust is definitely best when it's chewy rather than crispy. (I speak from experience.) I've never tried it with lard; I've only used butter-olive-oil substitution.

If you want to eat it warmed as leftovers, put it on a wire rack, put it in a warm oven (maybe 325), and leave it about fifteen minutes. Even better the second time around!

So. Whaddya waiting for? Go make some of this stuff. You won't be sorry.

  • 2.5 c. flour
  • 1.5 c. grated romano
  • 1/2 to 1 t. pepper
  • 4 oz. lard OR 1/4 c. olive oil and 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. white wine (or more if needed)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten


  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 2 or 3 jalapeno or anaheim chilies, seeded and chopped
  • one egg, beaten with a splash of water
  • finishing salt

The first time I made this, I didn't have three pints of cherry tomatoes. I had one pint of those, plus a few Santa tomatoes  and a couple of plain-Jane slicers. I used all three.

The original recipe calls for making the crust in a food processor, but I don't own one. I use a large fork to mix the flour, cheese, and pepper. Then I add the butter (which is cold and chopped into small bits) and use my fingers to mix it with the flour. (You're looking for something the consistency of coarse cornmeal.) Then I add the wine and egg to make a sticky dough.

Press into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line an 11x14 inch baking sheet with parchment paper (or whatever).

Transfer the dough to the baking sheet, stretching and pressing it to cover the bottom. (Oh. I also don't have a baking sheet that size, so I used a larger one and simply stretched the dough to the right size.)

Brush the dough with the beaten egg and water. Scatter the tomatoes and chilis on top, pressing them lightly into the dough. Sprinkle with salt. (The good stuff, folks. Morton's does NOT cut it. A slightly coarse salt if fab.)

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the tomatoes are a bit wrinkled and blackened. Let cool on  a rack. Pour the wine. Forget the day's woes.