Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, oxheart, Roma, beefsteak, yellow and green, plum, grape, Campari tomatoes…..
This is tomato season and the bounty and varieties are endless making me think of Forrest Gump and his famous quote (thank you WGA):
“Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sautee it. There’s, um, shrimp kebabs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There’s pineapple shrimp and lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich… That’s, that’s about it.”
Yes there is tomato salad, fried green tomatoes, Caprese, stewed tomatoes, my awesome tomato and peach towers, tomato sauce and then there is…
Tomato Tarte Tatin with Eggplant and Garlic …….. and that’s about it.
I have made this tarte several times including twice this past week – yes I do check my recipes before posting them – once with Roma tomatoes and once with these pretty cherry tricolor tomatoes and I must say that I preferred the Roma variation simply because the tomatoes were tastier and remained red. The tricolor tomatoes were pretty to look at when raw but you couldn’t really notice the difference when baked, due to the caramelization they all looked sort of brown whereas with the Roma tomatoes the form and color remained.
But the taste of this tarte is divine no matter what tomatoes you use. If you love eggplant and tomatoes this is the right tarte for you.
The recipe is simple and once you’ve made it once you will make it again and again with your own variations.
This tatin makes a light dinner for 3 or an appetizer for 6 guests.
Serve it with a green salad with mustardy vinaigrette – my favorite is tarragon – and some seasonal fruit tossed in such as slices of apricots or strawberries or some pretty red currants or nuts.
Note: If you do not have cranberry vinegar available for making the caramel you can use any other red fruit or balsamic vinegar. Pomegranate molasses vinegar can be found in Turkish or Middle Eastern grocery stores and is a great condiment for all summer dishes savory and sweet.
Tomato Tarte Tatin with Eggplant and Garlic
- 6 medium-sized Roma tomatoes or approx 30 cherry tomatoes or equivalent others
- 1 medium-sized eggplant – slim if you can find
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic – skinned, peeled and sliced into slivers
- 2 scallions or spring onions, washed, peeled, chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 6 Szechuan red pepper flowers or equivalent other racy pepper
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 sprig fresh or lightly dried rosemary needles
- 2 TBSPs brown sugar
- Olive oil
- 2 tsp pomegranate molasses vinegar
- 2 tsp cranberry vinegar or balsamic or other red fruit vinegar
- 3 slabs of flaky pastry dough, thawed if frozen
Putting it all together:
1. Preheat the oven to 450° F / 180° C convection. Wash the tomatoes, if using Roma tomatoes cut them in half the long way, cut out the stem parts if hard and scoop out the seeds with a spoon, set aside.
2. Partially peel the eggplant by stripping the skin with a vegetable peeler, removing each second strip, this will keep the eggplant from being too bitter. Chop it into medium-small pieces. Sprinkle pieces with some salt and set aside.
3. Heat a heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add the sea salt, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, Szechuan red pepper flowers, dried thyme, and rosemary needles. Warm them carefully max. 3 minutes, remove pan from the heat, then transfer to a mortar and grind with a pestle until fine and well combined. Set aside.
4. Return the skillet to the heat and add olive oil to cover the bottom, swirl it around and heat it use a pastry brush to brush the sides of the skillet with the oil. Pour off excess oil into a bowl and set aside for later steps.
5. Lower the heat and add the brown sugar to the skillet stirring with a wooden spoon to melt the sugar evenly. Add the vinegar and molasses, step away when doing this and take care that the vinegar doesn’t can burn in your eyes. Mix and bring to a bubbly boil. Lower the heat and place the tomatoes decoratively around the skillet.
6. Add the eggplant pieces in the middle and if using the Roam tomatoes also in between the tomato gaps along the skillet rim. Distribute the garlic slivers in between the tomato slices and over the eggplant. Sprinkle everything with the scallions/spring onions and the ground spices, it may seem a lot but it is the right amount. Lower the heat way down, cover and simmer while you roll out the dough.
7. Connect the pastry dough sheets by wetting the edges you want to connect with a little water and use your finger to stick and seal. Connect the plates of dough cutting some to connect to the others so you can roll them to a semi round shape only slightly larges than the size of your skillet.
8. Turn off the heat under the skillet and use some of the reserved olive oil to again brush the sides of the skillet so the dough doesn’t stick. Now carefully transfer the dough onto the vegetables in the skillet, tucking the sides down to cover. Watch out the skillet is hot! Brush the pastry with the remaining olive oil and place in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and let rest until ready to serve.
Note: If you want the pastry browner on top, turn on the grill option but for no more than 2-3 minutes watch it or it will burn immediately just like mine almost did.
9. Remove from the oven and cover with a large plate or platter and flip it over so the tomatoes are on top, be careful the skillet is very hot. Serve hot from the oven or at room temperature. Should there be any leftovers they are great cold too!
10. Bon Appetit!