Stunner Recipe: Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin

Here's a little stunner for your kitchen repertoire, friends!

It's last week's New York Times recipe for a savory tomato tarte tatin by Melissa Clark, who does an excellent job (in the recipe's companion article) of explaining how to avoid sogging your tart with tomato liquid.

It being tomato season, and puff pastry being one of my pet ingredients for autumn treats, I gave it a shot and made it on Friday for a couple of my lovely girlfriends. (They brought the Arista Gewurztraminer and the Humboldt Fog to start. Delish!)

Tarte tatin is typically a fantastically buttery, sweet, upside-down tart made with large chunks of apple, but this fairly easy version -- with its extracted, near-candied cherry tomatoes, salty kalamata olives, caramelized onions and buttery puff pastry -- is a vegetarian main course to be reckoned with.

Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin:

Important bits from Clark's companion article:

"The second time around I raised the oven temperature to encourage evaporation and cut more steam vents in the pastry. I also used fleshier cherry and grape tomatoes rather than full-size ones, because that’s what I had and because I hoped their smaller size would help them cook more completely.

Thirty minutes later I had my answer. Flipped over onto a serving dish, the tart was a stunning mosaic of red, orange and yellow orbs so shiny and candied that the tart really did look like dessert."

5 notes from my kitchen:
  • The bit in the recipe about caramelizing 1/4 cup of sugar in water and then adding a touch of vinegar? It's trickier than anticipated and takes longer than stated. Watch that your bits don't blacken!
  • I pulled my cast iron skillet out of the oven twice during the cooking process to drain out tomato liquid, about 1/3 cup's worth. I suspect this was a crucial step.
  • I also lowered the temp halfway through cooking from 425 degrees to 250 or so (even though one of Clark's solutions to the sogging was to up the cooking temp), because the puff pastry was threatening to burn. This worked out well!
  • Store-bought, frozen puff pastry is the joint. I've had great success w/Pepperidge Farms, but I just found some local puff pastry sheets by La Boulange in the freezer at Golden Natural Foods, Golden Produce's new annex across from the Castro Safeway. $2 more and worth it to shop local!!
  • I served my tomato tarte tatin with a few handfuls of dressed arugula, as well as a "side dish" of sauteed wild gulf prawns, sweet corn and chanterelles in a quick butter sauce with shrimp stock, parsley, lemon and chili flakes.

Because there's more to tomatoes than burrata and basil.



PARK(ing) Day was Friday! This was the scene on Valencia in front of that arch. firm next to Shoe Biz:

And in front of the wonderful Curiosity Shoppe, where the donut holes were poppin'!

Um, San Francisco rules.

photos: TB


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