Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cookbook Challenge: Tomato Tatin

I took the month of June off, but now I'm back to my Cookbook Challenge. Each month I pick one of my cookbooks to focus on, in an effort to keep them from gathering dust on the bookshelf. This month's cookbook is a fun mix of the internet recipes I depend on, and the physical cookbooks I can't stop buying. Now, if you're reading this, I hope you've already heard of Chocolate & Zucchini, one of my favorite blogs. It is a wonderfully written peek into the cooking and adventures of a Parisian woman, and once you start reading you won't be able to resist going back for more. As you know, I'm obsessed with all things French, so this book was the perfect birthday gift from my parents.

While I've only made one recipe from the book so far, I have to say I love this cookbook! It is written in a style that's similar to a blog, where each recipe has a story or meaning behind it. This is a cookbook I was able to stick in my purse and read on the train to work, which is a feature not many cookbooks can brag about. I've really enjoyed catching a glimpse of Clotilde's kitchen and life in France, and I think most foodies would enjoy just reading through her antidotes.

This Tomato Tatin is all I ask for in a side dish... roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, pesto, and puff pastry. Pretty much the four food groups you need to survive. While I don't think I'd make this again for a regular weeknight dinner (a bit rich for my usual taste), I would love to make this again for guests. It's not too many ingredients, but they blend together perfectly. And It's dramatic when you flip the finished dish over to reveal the tender tomatoes hiding underneath.

Tomato Tatin by Clotilde Dusoulier

1 sheet store bought puff pastry
Extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds roma or plum tomatoes
fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper
herbes de Provence
1/4 cup black olive tapenade (or I used pesto)
6 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves (I had these but forgot to use them!)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10 inch ceramic quiche pan with 1 tsp olive oil. (I used a small rectangular baking dish)

2. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and core them. Run your thumb in the hollows of the tomatoes to remove the juice and seeds. Arrange in the pan, skin side down. You can crowd them a little; they will shrink as they bake. Season with salt, pepper, herbs, and a good drizzle of olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes, until softened. Remove from oven (leave heat on).

3. If you use a round quiche pan, you will need to roll the dough into a circle about 1 inch larger than the pan. Since mine was a rectangle, I simple trimmed it down to the appropriate size. Prick dough all over with a fork. Spread with tapenade or pesto, leaving a 1 inch margin all around.

4. Cut the cheese into 1/3 inch slices and arrange over the tomatoes in the pan. Lay the dough, tapenade side down, on the cheese, and tuck in the overhanging flaps of dough. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

5. Let cook for a few minutes on the rack. Run a knife around the crush to loosen. Place your serving dish over the pan, and flip the tart over onto the serving dish. If any tomatoes stick to the bottom of the pan, just place them back on the tart where they belong. Serve warm or at room temperature. Just before serving, snip or tear the basil leaves and sprinkle over the tart.

This tart ended up being the perfect size to fit on this lovely Irish platter we got as a wedding gift from my parents thoughtful Irish friends.


Phivos Nicolaides said...

It looks a perfect recipe!

Sophie said...

Yummy! This does sound like quite a tasty side dish. Love the combo of ingredients -- anything pastry is always a winning recipe :).

Thanks for dropping by my blog! :)

Flour Arrangements

Elly said...

This looks delicious! Can't go wrong with pastry, cheese & tomatoes! I love Chocolate & Zucchini too, and I'm glad to hear you like the cookbook! It sounds like it might be written in a Nigella-type fashion (which I love!)

A World in a PAN said...

Congratulations on your Tomato Tain which look sgreat because it is not so easy to do..

Sarah said...

I love Chocolate and Zucchini. And you're right, you can't really go wrong with puff pastry, tomatoes and goat cheese!