It’s near the end of the summer and I have cooked and eaten tomatoes in just about every form possible. Save this one. I originally made this dish for a fifteen person brunch we hosted Memorial Day weekend. I wanted to serve vegetables but didn’t want dinner vegetables. My fondness for Tarte Tatin abounds so why not combine my love of the tatin and tomatoes?
I was headed to my annual bookclub retreat. We rent the large house at Summer Lake Hot Springs (go! if you ever find yourself in central/eastern Oregon), read, soak, eat, rest, laugh. And repeat. It’s an endless weekend of big skies, meteor showers and dear friends. This was one of my dishes for Saturday night’s dinner.
This recipe is adapted from La Tartine Gourmande.
I use a 8-9 inch cast iron skillet
Crust: I’ve used a store bought crust and a simple pate brisee. In a pinch the store bought works but it’s worth the effort to make dough. See below for crust recipe. Start the dough at least one or two hours before the tatin.
Cherry Tomato Tatin
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon or basil
10 slices manchego cheese (though I substituted another sheep’s cheese)
Kosher salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 320ºF. I give my skillet a quick rub on the sides with butter, oil or spray oil to help with inverting later.
Heat two tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bay leaf and brown sugar. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should start caramelizing.
Add the vinegar (watch your nose!), season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for 15 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Set aside.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the garlic and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oi;, sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the tomatoes, cut side down, in the skillet. Bake for 30 minutes until they look soft and wilted.
Roll out the dough slightly larger than the skillet. Increase the heat to 350º.
When I first made this dish I arranged all of the tomatoes so they would all be cut side down when the tatin was inverted. I wasn’t as particular this time and no one noticed. Top the tomatoes with the caramelized onions and chopped tarragon or basil. Finish with slices of cheese. Cover the skillet with the dough making sure to tuck the dough down the sides of the skillet. It’s not supposed to be perfect.
Make a few small holes on the surface of the dough with a fork. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes until the crust is light brown in color.
Before unmolding the tatin, slide a butter knife along the edge of the skillet. Let the tatin cool for a few minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. with one hand, hold the plate in place with the other, grab the handle and flip.
Garnish with fresh arugula, a chiffonade of basil or as is with a salad.
Pâte Brisée Crust (from Julia Child)
A food processor with a steel blade is required for this recipe
1 1/2 cups cups AP flour (scooped and leveled)
1/2 cup plain bleached cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces chilled unsalted butter, quartered and cut lengthwise
1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening
1/2 cup water
Put the flour, salt and butter into the processor and pulse until the butter breaks up. Add the shortening. While the machine is running pour in the water and pulse a few more times. The dough should look like a bunch of small lumps and hold together when pressed. If the dough is too dry, add water a few drops at a time.
Work the dough on a floured surface pressing it into a single mass. Form the dough into a flattened cake, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or two.