The Glorified Tomato Pie.

28 May

I wanted to be a bit wanky and pretentious this particular evening. And what better way to do it than with a tomato tarte tatin with caramelised onions, fresh basil and a balsamic reduction?

Lordy, I sound like I should really get into menu writing – if there is such a profession. If there is, though, I’m ready and willing to drop out of uni and give Matt Preston a run for his money in the snooty stakes.

Sadly the reality is that this was really a tomato pie with some onions, herbs and a pretty questionable vinegar and honey concoction splashed about on top. But such is the power of pompous vocabulary.

Anyway, I digress. A recipe on Taste (see bar on the right) inspired me to create this tomato thang for some guests we were having over. But the original recipe, to be honest, didn’t seem to have the right amount of pizazz – that is, I couldn’t really ham up and wankify its description in its initial form.

So I added some fresh basil leaves (from our, surprisingly, still alive basil plant) and caramelised onions and altered the balsamic vinegar component a little bit.

The end result was quite ‘tasty’ (I quote my flatmate here) and made me look like the ostentatious chef I so aspire to be. In reality? This recipe couldn’t be easier. And I couldn’t be any further from the aforementioned description.

Tomato tarte tatin

Tomato Tarte Tatin with Caramalised Onions, Fresh Basil and a Balsamic Reduction.

(translation: Tomato Pie with Some Onions, Herbs and a Pretty Questionable Vinegar and Honey Concoction)

Serves 4

For the pastry:

100g (2/3 cup) plain flour

1 tsp salt

50g dairy spread

1 TBSP cold water, approximately

400-500g baby roma tomatoes (depending on the quantities available to buy)

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp sugar

6 or 7 basil leaves

salt and pepper, to taste

For the reduction:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP honey

For the pastry:

1. Rub the flour, salt and dairy spread together with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Add enough water so that the dough comes together to form a ball. Make sure it’s not too sticky – if it is, add a bit more flour accordingly.

3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the rest.

1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over high heat.

2. Add the onions and fry until well cooked – they should be quite mushy and brown.

3. Add the sugar and keep cooking until the onions are well caramelised.

4. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

5. Arrange the tomatoes on the base of a 20cm-round cake tin. Make them look somewhat nice, mainly for the wank factor. And don’t use a springform cake tin – I did and ended up almost causing an oil fire.

6. Spread the basil leaves around on top of the tomatoes.

7. Top with the cooled onions.

8. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out so that it is big enough to cover the other stuff – if there is excess, just roll it back so that it forms a kind of ring around the edge. For a better explanation, click here.

9. Preheat the oven to 200C.

10. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and put the whole thing in the fridge for 10 minutes – this ensures the pastry doesn’t shrink while cooking.

11. Meanwhile, make the balsamic reduction/vinegar and honey concoction. In a pan over medium-high heat, put the balsamic vinegar and honey. Keep stirring and eventually it will turn into a thickish, molasses-resembling sauce thing. Don’t be deterred by guests telling you it resembles car oil. Looks are deceiving.

12. Take the tart out of the fridge and place in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. You can put the grill on for the last few minutes to ensure the pastry browns up nicely. But watch it – that thing is wild and can turn your tart black in seconds.

13. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a plate so that it is upside down. Again, refer to here for better instructions. But ignore the wire rack thing.

14. Drizzle with the reduction, season with salt and pepper, garnish with something green for extra wank (I promise this is the last time I’ll use this word) and serve.

NOTE: If serving to guests, preferably use the first description. Cravat optional.

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