26 April 2011

Springtime Tomato Tart with Onions, Basil & Balsamic Syrup (Tomato Tart No. 1)

In old French, I have heard, the tomato was sometimes affectionately called the pomme d'amour - the apple of love.  I totally get it.

Tomatoes are one of the most precious foods in my world.  They are best when they are in-season, vine-ripened, and (preferably) locally grown.

Supermarket tomatoes are terrible.  Do I need to tell you that, or have you watched Food, Inc?  Buy local ones.  Just please do.  Trust me.

Anyway, apparently, some used to believe the pomme d'amour had the powers of an aphrodisiac.  I understand.  They're red and plump and sexy.  And that smell?  Swoon.  Listen up, gentlemen: a basket full of fresh, local, farm-raised tomatoes would straight up knock me off my feet.  In case you were wondering.

If you're lucky enough to have too many tomatoes (is there such a thing?), definitely make this tart.  Or, make it just because you can.  I was inspired by David Lebovitz's lovely recipe here, but because I didn't have any chèvre, I used a cheddar-y roux, and did not use any honey.  I can't wait to give that version a spin, too! **Update: I did try it, and it's amazing: Tomato Tart No. 2.

Quick Pastry Dough
This tart dough is very forgiving. You can screw it up and no one would ever know.  You could use too little butter.  No one cares about the size of your egg.  It's amazing.  If it's too wet or too dry, don't freak out.  Just add a little more flour or water.

200g flour
80g butter, cold
1/2 tea salt
1 egg
2-3 tablespoons cold water

Whisk together flour and salt.  Shred cold butter on a box grater (large holes) into the flour.  Toss to coat butter in flour mixture, then rub together using hands until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg with water, then add to flour mixture using a butter knife.  Finish with hands, adding more cold water if dough does not come together.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1/2-cm thickness.  Transfer to tart pan, pressing into sides of pan with fingers.  Dimple bottom with your fingers and trim excess dough from the edges of the pan.

Tomato & Onion Tart Recipe

1 1/2 yellow onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
lots of tomatoes
handful fresh basil leaves
olive oil
dijon mustard

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
sea salt + freshly-cracked pepper
handful grated cheddar cheese

balsamic syrup for serving.

Preheat oven to 220C (400F).

Saute onions on medium-low heat with a little olive oil until soft and transparent.  Add garlic, saute 3 minutes more.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Chop tomatoes in large chunks - here I used small tomatoes, so merely cut them in half.  Place in a small bowl with torn basil leaves. Add salt, pepper and cooled onions.  Toss to combine.

Brush a thin layer of mustard over the bottom of the tart dough, or spread on using the back of a teaspoon.  Add tomato and onion mixture to the tart.

In the pan you cooked the onions in, melt butter.  When the butter is bubbling, add flour to make a paste.  Allow paste to cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute.  Add milk to the pan and whisk to incorporate flour paste into the milk.  Add grated cheese and continue to whisk until melted and incorporated.  Spoon cheese sauce over tomatoes.

Bake tart in oven for about 30 minutes, until top of tart is browned.  Tent with foil if the top browns before the dough and tomatoes are cooked.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove from tin and serve.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait for tomato season. This is at the top of my list.

    The real problem of "too many tomatoes" would actually be "too few eaters," I think.