Sunday 5 April 2009

Recipe: Tomato Tart

One of my all-time favourites, a miniature version of which was a stalwart on my canapé list in the days when I was cooking for my living. The recipe came originally from Julia Child, but I don't honestly know whether the version given here has suffered memory-creep, because when I went just now to check whether the version I now make still agrees with the original, that particular page was missing from my very battered copy of 'Mastering the Art'...which says much for the number of times I must have consulted it in the past.

The anchovies and olives are important, as they cut the sweetness of the tomato, and give greater structure to the final combination of flavours. As with many such dishes, this is almost better eaten cold the following day - although the likelihood of having any leftover to do so is pretty slim!

For an 8" diameter tart.

Ingredients: Shortcrust pastry made with 4 oz Butter, 5 oz '00' Flour, a pinch of Salt, and approx 30 fl oz cold water; half a medium Onion, finely diced; 2 oz Butter; 1 minced Garlic clove; 3 Anchovy fillets; 1 14 oz can of Tomatoes; 3 tbs tomato paste; 3 Eggs; 1 tsp dried thyme; Salt & Pepper, to taste; 8 stoned Black Olives; 3 tbs grated Parmesan.


1. Line a false-bottomed 8" diameter tart tin with the pastry, prick the base of the shell, and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. After resting, bake blind in a 190 degree C oven for ten minutes with weights in place, and five minutes further after the weights have been removed.

2. Melt the Butter in a sauté pan, and sauté the Onion and Garlic together for several minutes, then add the chopped Anchovies, and continue to cook until the Anchovies start to fall to pieces.
Add the tinned tomatoes, and cook over a low heat, covered, for ten minutes, then for a further five minutes uncovered, with the heat raised so that the liquid from the tomatoes reduces (you want the mixture to be quite thick at this stage).

3, Beat the Eggs in a bowl, along with the Tomato Paste, thyme and seasoning. Carefully combine this with the cooked tomatoes, and then put the whole lot into the baked tart shell. Arrange the Olives over the surface of the tart, and then sprinkle the grated Parmesan evenly over the top.

4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 200 degrees C - the tart is done when the filling puffs fulsomely, and the cheese on top has melted and begun to go brown.

Slice, and serve.