In New Jersey, we’re knee deep in tomatoes right now. So what do you do with all that summer deliciousness? Here's one of my favorite recipes that works great with any tomatoes. As with most of my recipes, it’s travel inspired. This time the inspiration comes from when I lived in France, where we ate a lot of tomato tarte!
This tarte is fantastic for several reasons - (1) it's portable, so it's picnic or outdoor party friendly; (2) you can make it with a variety of crusts, and (3) it's tasty! I usually make a pate brisee, which is just a fancy French word for pie crust, but you can use store bought pie crust, or phyllo dough. But since this is the closest a lot of us are going to get to France this year, I’m gonna make the fancy version of pie crust – pate brisee. Anyway, this recipe is a mash up of different recipes – one is from a cookbook I bought in France, one is from Rachel Ray,and one is just my own adaptations. Here’s a Martha Stewart pate brisee recipe that will work just fine!
Makes one tarte. Eight slices.
1 recipe pate brisee, or ½ box of phyllo dough ( a box usually has two rolls, so you need one roll) or 1 store bought pie crust
2 medium onions sliced to your preferred thickness
1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil to cook onions (the oil keeps the butter from burning)
¼ stick of melted butter (for the tarte). Don't use margarine. You need the butter taste.
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP grain mustard or Dijon mustard
1-1 ½ c shredded cheddar, gruyere or any hard melty cheese. Let's not skimp here people.
2-4 Jersey tomatoes, depending on size, so that when sliced thin, they cover the entire crust I use any old Jersey tomatoes - cherry tomatoes, Rutgers Select - any tomatoes you have. If I use something like a cherry tomato, I just cut them in half. You can either arrange the cherry tomatoes nicely, or just toss them on (which is what I do).
A 9” or 10" tarte pan. A tarte pan is basically a pie pan with a removable bottom. If you don’t have a tarte pan, fear not. A quarter sheet cookie pans will do. A quarter sheet is 9”x13”. If don’t have a quarter sheet pan, you can use any size cookie sheet. You might end up with a free form tarte, but I'd shy away from a pie or cake pan. It just doesn’t come out the same.
Cooking spray to coat the tarte pan
Corn meal to spread on the bottom of the tarte pan so dough doesn’t stick (optional). You probably don’t need more than a tablespoon, so don’t buy it specifically for this recipe.
1. Heat oven to 375 F.
2. Heat butter and oil in pan and carmelize onions. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Here's a quick “how to” on carmelizing onions....
3. Spray bottom of pan with cooking spray then sprinkle with cornmeal.
4. In a separate bowl, melt 1/4 c butter, then add honey and mustard.
a. Pate brisee or pie crust: Roll out the dough and place it in the tarte pan,
Note: I usually blind bake my pate brisee for about 10-15 minutes at 375F, but you don't have to. If you blind bake, don't spread the honey/mustard/butter mix until after you blind bake.
b. Phyllo dough crust: Unroll the phyllo. I lay a damp towel over the dough while I’m working so it doesn’t dry out. Lay out each sheet of phyllo onto tarte pan. After each sheet of phyllo dough goes in the tarte pan, spread a bit of the honey/ mustard/ butter in between each layer of phyllo.
6. After the crust is in the pan and/or after it's blind baked, spread the honey/mustard/butter (H/M/B) on the pie crust. You can use a pastry brush to do this, but just spoon it on and call it done. After the H/M/B mix, layer on the cheese, then the carmelized onions, then arrange tomatoes on top.
Look, this doesn’t have to be perfect, if you put the onions on first, nobody’s going to lose his/her job. Just sayin’....
7. Salt and pepper to taste, then add a bit of olive oil on top of the tarte before baking.
8. Place tarte on baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Can be served warm or cold.
1. You don’t have to put the tarte on a baking sheet, but I do, since I’ve ruined a tarte or two by lifting up the tarte insert when removing the tarte pan from the oven. And, tomatoes have a lot of water in them, so a baking pan prevents liquid dripping in your oven.
2. If I’m using small tomatoes like cherry tomatoes, I use a dry pint (more or less).
3. Sometimes, when I make my pate brisee, I’ll throw some herbs from my garden into the dough. Just chop them up and add them in! Sooooo good!
4. Bisquick: Although I haven’t tried it, I bet you can use Bisquick biscuit recipe in a pinch. Instead of rolling it out and cutting biscuits, roll it out to fit your pan. Remember, it’s about using what you have.
5. This is great with a glass of rose and a salad! Super French! And since this is the closest we’re getting to France this year, bon appétit!