Charlotte’s Tomato Tart

Yes yes, no photo, I know – promise to put one up the next time I make this, which will likely be this week as I’ve had this tart on my mind for a few days now. This recipe idea comes from my friend Charlotte, whose family in law we stayed with in South-West France one summer. Feeding around 20 people or more every lunch and dinner must have been a bit hectic, but Charlotte et al made it look like a breeze. Every day a number of these tomato tarts would make a brief appearance at the table, usually along with a tart of caramelised onion. It’s best made when tomatoes are really, really in season – so although it will taste nice now, it will taste even nicer in March, and especially if you can get your hands on some good heirloom tomatoes. It’s good hot, warm or cold, so perfect for picnics. Here’s a rough guide.

– Make a savoury short pastry using olive oil instead of butter – it complements the tomato well and is healthier to boot. Roll out thinly and line a greased tart tin. Blind bake until just golden. Spread on a generous layer of Dijon mustard then top with thick slices of tomato. Use large, fleshy tomatoes with less pulp – think beefsteak varieties such as the Saint Pierre or Costoluto Fiorentino, that way there’s no need to drain or deseed them. If they aren’t large and fleshy, then do drain and deseed them, or the tart will just be too watery. Plop on a handful of black olives here, if you like. Grind over some rock salt and top with a thin layer of grated cheddar. Bake until the cheese has melted down into the now-soft tomato. Drizzle over e.v.o.o. to serve.

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