Around this time each August, when tomatoes are at that wondrous peak of perfection—and production—Nashville’s One and Only Tomato Art Fest takes place.
Not only does it give us the chance to express our love of All Things Tomato, we also get to push ourselves creatively, with the beguiling fruit of the Nightshade family as our Muse.
For some, it manifests two-dimensionally: the Art and Invention Gallery displays tomato-inspired works created especially for the Fest.
For others, it is chance to strut your stuff; the fest is a tomato-directed costume party that rivals Halloween.
But for us local food activists, it means getting in the kitchen and baking up sweet and savory tomato goodies for the Everything Tomato Bake Sale. Proceeds from the sale go the Field of Greens Fund, which was founded to benefit farmers in our local foodshed who suffered damage from the Great May Floods.
For last years sale, I made this, and it sold so well that I knew I would make it again.
But I also like the challenge of coming up with something new for the sale. How best to combine my garden zucchinis, my surplus of fat ripe cherry tomatoes….
…and some beautiful fresh Greek Oregano and Summer Savory, grown by Arugula’s Star?
With these at hand, some Greek yogurt and goat cheese in my fridge, a roll of phyllo stashed in the freezer, a sunny-along-the-Aegean-Sea direction began to form.
Roasted Zucchini planks smeared with herb-laced goat cheese stacked with sliced tomatoes encased in phyllo: the result was a cross between a terrine and a napoleon.
It baked up beautifully, with sharp feta nose, bright acid tomato pop, and robust herbal notes that conjured the rocky coast of a Greek Isle. Sliced, it’s delicious for snacking, or served as a first course. I think it would be nice for brunch, too.
But, here’s a hot tip:
At the Everything Tomato Bake Sale, it was the First Thing to sell out.
Phyllo can be a little tricky to work with; thank goodness it is so forgiving.
Thaw your package in the refrigerator overnight before using.
Have all your ingredients organized and ready to assemble, including your brush and bowl of olive oil.
Work quickly, and don’t worry about piecing the Napoleon here and there. Layer over layer of phyllo will create the right shape, bring it all together.
1 roll Phyllo Dough (one of the two pkgs. in a box)
3 medium Zucchinis
1 medium Onion
3 medium Tomatoes, or 1 1/2 pts. Cherry Tomatoes
6 oz. Mild Goat Cheese
4 oz. Feta
6 oz. Greek Yogurt
several sprigs fresh Summer Savory
several sprigs fresh Oregano
Salt and Black Pepper
1 terrine or Loaf pan
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice zucchini into long planks, about1/4″ thick. Slice onion into strips. Lay out both vegetables onto a baking sheet pan and brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for 7-10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Drop oven temperature to 375.
In a food processor fitted with a swivel blade, pulse together the yogurt, goat cheese, feta, egg, salt, pepper. Then add fresh herbs and pulse again until the herbs are chopped—but not too finely—throughout.
Oil the terrine or loaf pan. Unroll phyllo pastry and cover with a damp towel. Lift a couple of leaves of the phyllo and lay into terrine. The leaves, or sheets will fold over the sides of the pan. Brush with olive oil and repeat the process until the terrine base and sides are covered, several sheets deep.
Place a layer of sliced tomatoes at the bottom. Spoon some of the cheese mixture over, then place a layer of the roasted zucchini planks. Continue this layering process until you fill the terrine. Finish with a few sheets of phyllo to cover the top.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Phyllo will brown and crispen.
Allow to cool, and invert. Serve in slices for snacking, or as an appetizer.
Makes 10 slices.