I don’t have a garden; I can barely keep a basil plant alive. But my parents have had one and my grandmother has one and many of our neighbors and friends have ones that we gratefully reap the bounty of now and then. We also have farmers markets, and I am thankful to each one of those vendors for not only growing their edible wares so well, but selling them to us black thumbs, too.
This post is a celebration of all the freshness and flavor of the garden in a phyllo tart form. In other words: a crispy, flaky, buttery crust topped with creamy lemon-herb ricotta and sliced heirloom tomatoes topped with salt and pepper. My only regret is that I didn’t make this recipe sooner.
(I suppose I regret that poor basil plant, too.)
I figured there was no better way to celebrate the garden’s bounty than with Athens Fillo Dough. There’s no better way to celebrate anything, really — may I remind you of those crispy, flaky, buttery layers? They’re my favorite. But that basil and chive ricotta, though. Oh, and those salted and peppered tomatoes.
OK so it’s ALL my favorite. One bite of this tart and you’ll likely agree.
A few notes: I brushed each layer of phyllo dough with olive oil, but melted butter works just as well and renders an equally pleasant flavor and flaky crust. The lemon zest and herbs mixed into the ricotta give it the perfect brightness to balance out the richness of the dough. I topped my tart with a variety of sweet heirloom tomatoes and grape tomatoes, but feel free to use whatever you have in your garden — or, if you share in my black thumb-ness, whatever catches your eye at the farmers market or the grocery store. And don’t forget to add a few generous sprinkles of salt and pepper. Don’t overdo it, but sprinkle it on with a liberal hand to get the most flavor out of those tomatoes.
A few more bits of chopped fresh herbs on top, and the tart is complete. All that’s left to do is eat it — which is something I am actually pretty good at doing.
- 1 roll (about 21 sheets) Athens Fillo Dough
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1¼ cups ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus more for topping
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more for topping
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1½ to 2 lbs tomatoes, sliced to ¼-inch thickness (and/or grape tomatoes, sliced in half)
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lay 1 sheet of fillo dough on parchment paper. Brush lightly with olive oil. Top with another sheet of fillo dough; brush lightly with oil. Repeat until all fillo dough sheets are stacked.
- In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, basil, chives, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste until well combined. Spread evenly on top of fillo dough, leaving a 1-inch border along edges.
- Top with sliced or halved tomatoes. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Bake 30 minutes until dough is golden brown and flaky.
- Cool tart slightly; top with more chopped basil and chives and salt and pepper, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Disclosure: I received compensation from Athens Foods for recipe development purposes. All opinions are my own.