Despite having four tomato plants this year, I have yet to feel my garden is inundating me with produce. My Sungold tomato plant is usually picked clean by the kids. They relish them like candy for their bright colors and sweetness. My other tomato plants reached an impasse of sorts, sitting with numerous green bodies, plump but not ready to ripen and move on. It is my neighbors, with the bounty from their house-sitting that I rolled in a couple of years ago and tagged as “neighbors’ bounty” then, who came through for me. Last week, they brought me eggplants, garlic, and loads of tomatoes.
The photo of this glistening tomato tatin caught my eye from designsponge while perusing Pinterest one night, while locked in to my sidelying position in bed my a nursing infant Sky-Girl. And it was easily decided what I would be doing the next day while she napped. Having a hard time napping while she naps, I usually busy myself with mundane domestic things, or some feast in the kitchen. This time, I kept myself busy making breakfast burritos to freeze, kale chips, and the tatin. The cleaning did not get done. I did not check my work e-mail. I’ll pay the rent tomorrow. Tomatoes are the most forgiving plant in the garden, taking a beating from weather and errant gardeners (did I forget to water them again?), so it was my duty to give them their worth with this elegant recipe.
And their worth they did show, with my eating half of the tatin at one sitting, reining myself in so that there would be enough to share for dinner. Though this tatin presents elegantly, I wasn’t so elegant in my eating of it. Enjoy your tomatoes in every permutation, pseudo-elegantly like me, or perhaps with more restraint than me.
Author: story of a kitchen (slightly adapted from http://www.designsponge.com/2013/08/in-the-kitchen-with-whip-clicks-tomato-tartin.html)
Recipe type: vegetable
CRUST: 200 grams (1⅓ cup) flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
100 grams (8 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 large egg
a few teaspoons of water
FILLING: 940 grams (2 lbs) medium to large tomatoes*
herbes de provence
sea salt and pepper
1 large onion
1 clove of garlic, chopped
a sprig of fresh thyme (optional)
CRUST PREP: Mix flour, salt, and cubed butter in large bowl, working the butter into the flour with your fingers until you get a cornmeal consistency. Add the egg and mix until just combined. If it is too dry, add cold water one teaspoon at a time (I added 2 teaspoons). Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
TOMATO PREP: Cut tomatoes in half, core and remove the seeds. Save the seeds -- they give soup a nice flavor and help to thicken it.
Coat the bottom of a 8-, 9-, or 10-inch round dish with olive oil and place the tomatoes skin side down, mosaic-style. I used an 8-inch pan.
Season with salt, pepper, herbes de provence and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until soft.
While tomatoes are baking, cut the onion into thin half-moon slices. Heat up a pan drizzled with olive oil. Cook onions until translucent and caramelized on medium heat. Add garlic to cook slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
Just before tomatoes are almost done baking, roll out dough to a 10 inch round. Score the dough to the size of your pan and trim.
Spread the cooked onions on top of the tomatoes, then add an even layer of grated Parmesan. Add the dough on top and tuck the edges in.
Bake for another 30 to 35 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.
Cool tatin in pan for 10 minutes. Cut around sides of pan to loosen tatin. Place large platter over pan, holding firmly, and invert, allowing tatin to settle onto platter. Rearrange any tomato pieces that may have become dislodged. Add sprig of fresh thyme to garnish.
Serve tart warm or at room temperature.
* The original recipe called for plum tomatoes, but I used a variety, even the voluptuous heirlooms. I cut the largest heirloom into seven pieces to mimic a plum half. Whatever type you use, just make sure they are seeded, as the seeds can make the dish too mushy.