I was so proud of myself for finally nailing the Tarte Tatin that I decided to venture out on my own and make a tomato version, and with a Cowgirlified crust (my polenta tart dough). I’d seen something like this before in French cookbooks, and it seemed like such a great idea – a fancified upside-down tomato tart, really – and y’all know how much I love tomatoes, which are just about gone, but I’m not giving up yet.
I liked the contrast of the green zebras with the red tomatoes in the center, but they were a bit watery. I think that next time, I’ll use Roma tomatoes because they’re a bit meatier — plus you can get them most of the year (I’ve noted before that I like to slow-roast Romas for all sorts of things in the winter).
You could add goat cheese and a layer of pesto, as Daniel Boulud does; or make them in individual portions (just use custard cups). For that matter, basil instead of thyme would be nice, too. This works great as part of a light meal — I had this with a bowl of my split pea soup for dinner– or as an appetizer.
Tomato Tarte Tatin
6-8 medium tomatoes (Romas would work nicely), halved and cored
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 sprigs fresh thyme (plus more for serving)
polenta tart crust, recipe follows
balsamic vinegar, for serving (optional)
Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F.
1. Make the polenta tart dough (recipe below) and roll out to 1/8″ thick in a 10-inch circle, so it’ll fit in the pan. Slide in the fridge until ready.
2. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or other skillet that you can put in the oven), arrange the tomatoes, inside-up, putting as many as you can in the pan. Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper, and slide in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until they soften.
3. Remove the pan from the oven and gently place the dough on top, pushing it down around the sides of the tomatoes (so when it cooks, it’ll have a curly edge). With a sharp knife, make a few slits in the dough. Slide into the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes more, or until the crust begins to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and carefully turn out onto a large platter.
Serve warm with additional thyme, Parmesan, and a splash of balsamic vinegar, if you’d like.
Polenta Tart Crust
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup polenta
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
½ cup ice water
Grease the tart pan with a tiny bit of olive oil if it doesn’t have a non-stick coating.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, polenta, and sea salt. Add the oil and honey and mix a bit — by hand — and then add the water and mix just until the dough comes together in a ball. Now, on a floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle large enough to fit tart pan. Trim the edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Fill the tart, and bake (or blind bake, depending on what you’re using it for) at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.