Every summer when I was growing up, my mom would make a tart crust and line it with fresh tomato slices, julienned basil, and gobs of cheese. She'd pop it in the oven and pull it out for dinner on a hot night. As Denver's spring quickly moves into summer, I've been thinking about that tart. While I wait (and wait) for my tomato plants to fruit, I've found a worthwhile replacement at P17, chef Mary Nguyen's new neighborhood bistro on the corner of 17th Avenue and Franklin.
Nguyen doesn't just feature one tomato tart on her menu, she offers two: a baked version with goat cheese and ricotta, and a fresh adaptation. Although the former is similar to my mom's dish, it's the latter that has stolen my heart. Only available at dinner, this small plate arrives as a fluted Parmesan shell filled to overflowing with vine-ripened tomatoes, cubes of tomatillo, and halved cherries—all tossed with parsley and olive oil. The interplay of acidity, tang, and sweetness inside a rich, snappy crust is what makes this tart extraordinary.
I know what I’ll be eating all summer long.
1600 E. 17th Ave., 303-399-0988