Food and Drink

Celebrate Peak Tomato Season with This Goat Cheese Galette

Chef Claire Thomson's new cookbook is dedicated to the juicy summertime fruit.

Photo by Sam Folan
Photo by Sam Folan
Photo by Sam Folan

As far as the “szns” go, tomato is certainly up there. Summer is here, and that means slicing into juicy, heirloom tomatoes, tasty enough to enjoy on their own (maybe with a sprinkle of salt). But once you reach the dog days, you might find yourself with an overabundance. That’s where UK-based chef and author Claire Thomson’s cookbook, Tomato: 70 Recipes Celebrating the Extraordinary Tomato, comes in.

Thomson’s cookbook, however, is not dedicated solely to fresh tomatoes. She also pays equal attention to canned tomatoes, which are preserved at prime freshness to allow cooks to enjoy the fruit year-round. “I always wanted this to be a book of two halves: fresh in the summer and tinned, canned, or processed for the winter months,” she says. “It’s the versatility of tomatoes as an ingredient that sets it apart.”Thomson makes it clear that there’s no right or wrong way to eat a tomato. While some might find it sacrilege to bake a summer tomato, for example, Thomson turns the idea on its head with an effortlessly elegant tomato and goat cheese galette. When you bake a fresh tomato, you caramelize the skins, draw moisture, and further intensify those peak flavours.

This galette is great for its no-fuss nature. The more rustic-looking, the better, so don’t strive for perfection. In this recipe, Thomson provides the option of using store-bought pastry dough without compromising on flavour. Simply sprinkle the dough with grated parmesan, then fold the pastry over itself a few times to create layers of cheese.

You can even throw in some freshly ground pepper for a warming spice, or freshly picked thyme. “I love giving people hacks to jazz up their cooking,” she says. “Store-bought shortcrust pastry can be quite boring.”As for what gets tucked inside, the recipe calls for shallots softened with butter, soft goat cheese, and, of course, fresh tomatoes. Thomson advises picking up different sizes and colours, to enhance the visual component.

“For a perfect tomato in the summertime, I want it to be ripe, but still have good tension to the skin-not too squashy,” Thomson explains. “I want it to taste sweet, with a fresh juicy acidity, to have a deep, umami savoriness to it, and to have a perfume, too-scented sweet and slightly spicy all at once-and when given a pinch of good salt and a slug of good olive oil, to be the perfect mouthful.”

Adding a sprinkle of sugar on top will allow the tomatoes to fully caramelize and obtain a darker colour in the oven. And while simplicity is key with this recipe, Thomson recommends adding whatever fresh herbs you have in your garden. Complement the galette with a leafy salad, dressed with a lemon-dijon vinaigrette, and you’ve got yourself an ideal summertime lunch.

Tomato and Goat’s Cheese Galette Recipe

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce (30 grams) butter
  • 3 shallots or 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
  • Plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
  • 10½ ounces (300 grams) shortcrust pastry
  • 1¾ ounce (50 grams) Parmesan or another hard cheese, grated (shredded)
  • 5½ ounces (150 grams) soft goat’s cheese
  • 12 ounces (350 grams) tomatoes, thinly sliced (a mixture of colours and sizes is nice)
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Pinch of caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a pan over a moderate heat. Add the shallots or onion, season well with salt and pepper and fry for about 5-10 minutes (depending on whether you’re using shallots or onions), until soft and just beginning to brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme. Put to one side to cool.
2. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to a rough rectangle about ⅛-inch (3-millimetres) thick. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, then fold the pastry over itself four times to create four layers of cheese. Wrap the pastry in baking paper and refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes, to rest.
3. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/325°F/Gas 3.
4. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the chilled pastry to a rough circle about 11¼-inch (28 centimetres) in diameter and about ⅛-inch (3-millimetres) thick.
5. Transfer the pastry circle to a baking sheet lined with baking paper and coarsely grind black pepper over the top, giving it a final roll to press the pepper into the dough.
6. Add the cooked shallot or onion in an even layer, leaving a 1½-inch (4 centimetres) border around the edge. Sprinkle the topping with salt and pepper and dot most of the goat’s cheese over the top.
7. Add the tomato slices and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over the sugar and season with salt, then dot over the rest of the goat’s cheese. Fold the edge of the dough over the tomatoes to create a 1½-inch (4 centimetres) crust.
8. Brush the crust edge with the beaten egg and put the tart in the fridge for 15 minutes to rest.
9. Bake the galette for 40-50 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden and the tomatoes are very soft and starting to colour.
10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipes excerpted with permission from Tomato by Claire Thomson, photos by Sam Folan, published by Quadrille Publishing, July 2022

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Jessica Sulima is a staff writer on the Food & Drink team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Food and Drink

The Best Ways to Dress Up Your Summer Beers

From micheladas to shandies to fruit infusions, the power is in your hands-and kitchen.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Today, just about any flavored beer a person could dream up already exists in a can, from micheladas to shandies to, yes, pickle beers. But there’s still much to be said for the DIY versions of these dressed-up beers.

For one, they’re fresher (you could squeeze your own lemonade for a shandy right this instant). For another, they’re customizable: spiciness, fruit choice, how strong you’d like the final drink to be-all those are in your hands. And perhaps more importantly, they’re fun. Whether you want to spend two minutes constructing a beer-lemonade shandy or spend an hour infusing your IPA with real chunks of pineapple, there are plenty of ways to get creative in gussying up your beer this summer.

Embrace red beer

A brunch staple across the western half of the U.S., “red beer” is essentially a stripped-down michelada: just your preferred light lager of choice, plus tomato juice. But the devil’s in the details-folks can get mighty particular about their red beer specifications.

My preference is Coors Light with just a splash of Campbell’s tomato juice. It’s a pet peeve of mine when bartenders go too heavy on the tomato juice; it’s called red beer after all, not tomato juice. To make this yourself, start with your light lager of choice, then add just a splash of tomato juice so that the beer has a strong orange hue. Sip, taste, and add more if necessary.

Upgrade your salt rim

Another component of some micheladas, salt rims are more versatile than they might seem-and they complement several styles of beer. Just coat the rim of a beer glass with lime juice or water, then dunk the glass in a shallow dish of salt. Try the following combos:

• Mexican lager with a Tajin rim: Try substituting Tajin seasoning for straight salt for a bit of a chilli-lime kick. Pair this with a red beer for a michelada-like vibe.
• Gose with a herbal-salt rim: Goses are a beer style with a light salinity already, so pouring them in a glass rimmed with a rosemary salt or basil salt can add an additional flavour that doesn’t clash. Try mixing and matching fruited goses with herbal salts-how about a watermelon gose with a basil-salt rim?
• Dark lager with a smoked salt rim: Smoked salt is a surprisingly versatile ingredient because it’s way less powerful than liquid smoke. Try a dark lager (like Modelo Negro or a bock) in a glass rimmed with smoked salt for a subtle campfire vibe.

Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/iStock/Getty Images
Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/iStock/Getty Images
Marcos Elihu Castillo Ramirez/iStock/Getty Images

No shame in a shandy

Radlers and shandies are often used interchangeably to refer to a light-coloured beer blended with fruit juice (typically lemonade or grapefruit). Packaged versions exist, but with so many fruit-flavoured non-alcoholic beverages on the market, it’s worth playing around with some creative combos in your own kitchen. A good rule of thumb is to start light with the base beer, either a pale lager, cream ale, blonde ale, or (if you’re really a hop head) a pale ale. From there, most people blend in a splash of their favourite juice.

But here’s my preference: Use a fruit-flavoured soda. I find that adding straight fruit juice to beer often makes it too sweet and a bit flat. A high-quality fruit-flavoured soda, like the ones from Sanpellegrino, adds carbonation and fruit flavour with too much sweetness. Also, go easy on the ratio of soda to beer to start, because you can always add more soda. I find a ratio of about one part soda to three parts beer is ideal.

Infuse your beer with fruit

Your French press isn’t only for coffee-it can also act as a device for infusing fruit or other flavours into beer. If you end up with a bumper crop of strawberries or melons from the farmer’s market, this is a great way to use them.

1. Start with a new or perfectly clean French press to avoid coffee flavour leaching into your beer (unless that’s what you’re after).
2. Pour in your beer of choice. Almost any style could work here: light lagers, blonde ales, saisons, IPAs, even porters and stouts. Pour the beer into the French press, leaving a couple inches empty at the top.
3. Add some cut-up fruit. The possibilities are limitless: porter and raspberry, IPA and pineapple, blonde ale and mango, wheat beer and oranges, saison and cherries…
4. Allow the fruit to infuse. How long to leave the beer in contact with the fruit is up to you, knowing that the longer the mixture sits, the more pronounced the flavours will be. Start with 10 minutes, push the plunger down slightly, pour and taste some of the beer, and wait longer for a more intense flavour.
5. Push the plunger down all the way. Pour your infused beer into a glass and enjoy!

Make a mighty michelada shrub

Micheladas are typically a mixture of Mexican lager, lime juice, tomato juice, and salt. But recently, premixed michelada shrubs (like those from Pacific Pickle Works and Real de Oaxaca) have popped up, adding some vinegar tartness and other ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and spices to the mix.

A shrub combines vinegar with fruit or, sometimes, vegetables, and they’re easy to experiment with at home. Michael Dietsch, author of Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times, suggests that if you’re creating a shrub to mix with beer and tomatoes, beginning with a base of apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar (to match the malt in beer) plus lime is a smart start. From there, savoury additions like soy sauce will lend a Bloody Mary feel-just be sure to use a light hand with those umami-packed additions. Because vinegar and soy or Worcestershire sauce are tangy and savoury, Dietsch notes that you may want to add just a pinch of sugar to your shrub for balance.

From there, the sky’s the limit. Swap apple cider for white balsamic if you’re feeling bold, or add orange juice as well as lime. But regardless of what ingredients you use, Dietsch says it’s important to let a shrub sit and mellow for a couple days before using it. That time will let the intensity of the vinegar mellow and will ensure all the flavours meld together in perfect harmony. Once the shrub has sat a few days, give it a taste, then add a few splashes of it to your favourite Mexican lager.

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Kate Bernot is a certified BJCP judge and freelance reporter whose work regularly appears in Craft Beer & Brewing, Thrillist, and Good Beer Hunting. Follow her at @kbernot.

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