And yesterday I went to a book signing by Kristin Espinasse http://www.french-word-a-day.typepad.com/ and she challenged me to start today with a recipe of "Tarte Tatin" and I said "Tarte Tatin à la Tomate" (tomato Tatin), so here I am taking up the challenge and thanking Kristin for her good words of encouragement and inspiration.
This first recipe of "Tarte Tatin à la Tomate" is a more summery dish when tomatoes are nicely ripe and juicy; I tasted this dish a few years ago for the first time in Paris at one of the Marais area restaurant and loved it so much that I decided to recreate it.
My "Tarte Tatin à la Tomate" recipe:
Pastry (or should I say "Pâte à tarte")
Tomatoes (preferably organic, of course) the number will depend on the size of the final tarte; I would say a dozen of medium size tomatoes for the pastry quantity (they will loose a lot of juice and shrink a lot).
1 medium size shallot (or more if you really like them like I do)
A couple of cloves of garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, a teaspoon of sugar (brown).
Pastry (this is my Mom's recipe, who has it from her own mother, a basic easy to make pastry, yet very tasty, go figure with the butter that goes into it!)
250 gr all purpose flour (it should be flour with less gluten as you don't want it to be too elastic, or it will shrink when cooking)
125 gr butter at room temperature
90 gr cold water
1 pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients (by hand or mixer, do not knead), roll out pastry and fold it in 3, give it a half turn to the left and repeat once ( you can repeat this process a couple more times after cooling, it will make the pastry a little bit puffy).
Then wrap with cling film and place in the fridge to cool down while you prepare your tomatoes.
Tomatoes step 1
Peal and finely chop the shallots and garlic, place in a non stick frying pan with a little olive oil on medium to low heat, you want to soften them without browning them, 5/10 mn.
While this is cooking,
Clean and half the tomatoes, removing the top green hard part, then place them face down in the frying pan on top of the shallots and garlic, let them cook half way through on low to medium heat (you can put the lid on it will keep the juices) then turn them upside down, add salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and sugar for caramelising and continue cooking them, toward the end increase the temperature a little to obtain caramel texture on bottom of pan.
Make sure you don't break them when you turn them or check them.
Tomatoes step 2
When cooked through, if the skin is too hard by now it should come apart and you can just remove it from the tomatoes, then place each tomato side by side tightly in an oven proof dish (Pyrex or porcelain or plain tôle à tarte).
Keep the juices aside in the pan covered.
While the tomatoes are cooking you can roll out the pastry into the shape of the dish you have selected plus enough for the sides.
Place the rolled out pastry on top of your tomatoes and on the sides in the dish and bake in preheated oven for 25 mn at 180/190 C (356/374 F) time will depend on your oven so check it out after 20mn, pastry should be golden and cooked through.
When cooked, here is the hard part, take a serving dish, place it on top of your inverted pie and rotate in a quick movement to have the pastry underneath and the tomatoes on top, this can be tricky as it's hot and some liquid will be in the baking dish, then pour the juices from your frying pan on top of the tomatoes and serve immediately with a green salad, it makes a perfect summer evening light meal (or winter starter to bring on the summer feel!).