How Tomatoes Drop the Mic

July 29, 2015

A summer tomato tart that pulls out all the stops from Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella

tomato tart

Loving our sons is easy.

Shop the Story

I get there ten minutes early to secure seats. It has to work.

They spend the day stumbling on sidewalk cracks and bubbling with goofy unconditional love. 

There is always a reason we can’t get together.

We can almost see them growing in their sleep.

A dying father, sick kids, a deadline.

But our daughters just want to quietly close their bedroom doors, moving away from any sense of family, escaping into devices and daydreams and vlogs.

A forgotten email thread, fatigue, an inability to be social. 

So we hold them too tight.

And then finally we are all sitting on barstools with drinks in our hands.

We talk about how if one of our kids died, we would curl up in a fetal position and go to bed forever.

tomato tart

Our stories are interchangeable.

How quickly we get all situation critical about marriage: Once we get to the word divorce, it’s so easy to pick it up again and throw it like a ninja star. 

How if someone had given us spreadsheets when we were young, outlining the ups and downs of marriage, we might never have dreamed of finding the one. 

We give strong hugs and go home. 

How as things get harder with parenting and marriage, the more determined we are to make something meaningful.

I am home. I am hungry. For the first time in as long as I can remember, food hasn’t been on my mind for an entire evening.

Like the novel in the drawer, the book proposal, the new job opportunity.

I pull one square of tart out of the freezer and throw it in the oven until the tomato is bubbling away. 

The Kickstarter we are scared to get out there, the new family business.

I cut into the collapsed and shrivelled tomato. Its insides spill out all the things I love: anchovies, herbs, capers, lemon zest, garlic, Parmesan cheese. I scoop everything up with crispy prosciutto.

The final cut of the documentary film.

I crawl into bed and wrap a hand around my husband’s sleeping arm. I hear a happy sigh. 

The book we have to finish.

I say to the dark room: There is no plan. Just a slow rhythmic squeezing of his shoulder and a gentle tracing of his left calf with my right toe.

tomato tart

Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese, Quark, Prosciutto, and Gremolata

Serves 4 to 6

1 recipe for your favorite tart or pie dough
9 small heirloom tomatoes (preferably Early Girl and even better if they are dry-farmed)
4 to 6 anchovies packed in oil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon drained capers, finely chopped
4 tablespoons finely chopped parsley (or any combination of tarragon, parsley, basil, mint, sage, arugula, or cilantro)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and microplaned
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan (like snow)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or just enough to bring the mixture together)
Pinch kosher salt (optional)
1 egg yolk, room temperature
3/4 cup creamy fresh goat cheese, room temperature
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half, room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for tomatoes
1/2 cup quark cheese, room temperature
9 slices prosciutto (as thinly sliced as possible)

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

Photos by Phyllis Grant 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Dianelioon
  • Carrie Jouflas
    Carrie Jouflas
  • Heather Torre
    Heather Torre
  • Pisanella
  • Vladislava Vaneckova
    Vladislava Vaneckova
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.


Dianelioon August 31, 2016
....both the thoughts and recipe too complex and downright weird for a summer tomato ....disappointing, Food 52
Carrie J. August 31, 2016
I love the tomato tarts, and I love the beauty of it. I like how that food can evoke feelings. And how it can bring people together. And I loved the way that Phylis could bring us snapshots of life. Maybe it's my age (59) but I do appreciate it. Brava
Heather T. August 31, 2016
what the hell????
Pisanella August 31, 2016
What the hell was that all about? Not liking the embarrassingly personal stream of consciousness Just the recipe, next time, please!
Vladislava V. August 3, 2015
I found this article lovely, a little bit sad, well-balanced and generally very life-like. "food hasn't been on my mind for an entire evening" but lots of other things have. Thank you for letting us see another snapshot of what's on your mind when it's not food. It doesn't seem easy but it seems totally worth it.
And, anchovies again :)
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 31, 2015
I found this article depressing & confusing. Recipe looks tasty though.
PG T. July 29, 2015
"Leave the toe. Take the tart."
Kenzi W. July 29, 2015
I can't wait to make this. I think I'm going to try the non-tart version of these tomatoes tonight—mostly out of laze—but tart soon!