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Sorry for the long absence.  Tourist and wedding season is upon us here in lovely Lake Tahoe, and as the restaurant that I work at is so close to the water that we have a boat valet (yes, a boat valet, a kind young man who will dock your boat for you in our marina’s private docks.) we get a lot of business when the sun is shining and the weather is nice.  I’ve been logging some serious hours on the clock at the expense of the blog.  But, since I suffer from a crippling addiction to money, I call it a worthwhile sacrifice.

This is a great egg-less quiche sort of a dish that would be lovely to bring to a party as it is best served warm or at room temperatures.  It’s cheesy and savory and quite simple.  As is with most real Tuscan cooking, this little torte is a few regular ingredients that come together to become more than the sum of it’s parts.  If you were short on time, you could make a tart crust ahead of time (or buy one) then just assemble everything and pop it in the oven when you’re ready.

I served this torte as part of a antipasta or ‘assorted nibbles’ dinner, along with a herb frittata and a loaf of ciabatta bread with plenty of oil and balsamic for dipping.  It was such a nice summer time dinner!

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Savory Tuscan Ham Torte

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer – cost approx $.50 per serving

My total dinner cost only about $1.12 per serving to include the bread and fritatta

Ingredients

  • 1 9″ savory tarte crust – I use the William and Sonoma recipe from their ‘Pie and Tart’ book.  ($.75)
  • 1/2 lb sliced ham ($.50, got a great deal at my local discount store)
  • 1/4 lb mozzarella, thinly sliced ($.99)
  • dried oregano
  • 1 lb tomatoes, sliced ($.99)

This recipe is so simple.  Start by preheating your oven to 350 F.  Roll out your tarte crust and lay it in a tart or pie pan, line it with parchment, weigh it down and blind-bake it for about 15 minutes.  Blind-baking is the fancy word for pre-baking a tart or pie crust.  You just lay down some parchment paper and weigh down the parchment with something.  Cooking stores will sell you ‘pie weights’ for this purpose, but dry beans, uncooked rice or a handful of nuts and screws stolen from your fireman’s garage will work just fine.

Remove the weights and parchment from your crust.  Slice up the mozzarella.  Also slice the tomatoes lay them over a colander to drain out any extra water.  Lay out ham slices over a towel to get out any extra water.  Nobody likes a soggy tarte.  To assemble, layer up the ham, tomatoes and mozzarella with a pinch or two of oregano in each layer.  Bake another 15 minutes.  Viola, done!

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