My garden is cooperating this year, providing me with a big crop of tomatoes. I’m currently growing about 12 varieties from Golden Sun cherry tomatoes to Giant Syrian heirlooms. When I saw a recipe for a tomato tarte tatin on the Boston Globe, I knew I had to give this a try. I only had about 2 lbs of the variety I wanted to use which was a Pineapple Heirloom; about 2 – 2 1/2 inches in diameter with a slight pineapple sweetness. My second choice would be a large grape tomato, (still a small variety), the recipe on the Globe called for Roma’s and while I appreciate their meatiness, they don’t have a lot of flavor.
Of course, I had to revise this recipe a little bit as I also have a big crop of fresh basil and think that is the perfect topper for this tarte, cutting the richness of the tomato with a bite of licorice essence from the fresh basil.
I used a 9″ springform pan which released nicely from the tart at the end. In addition, I lightly oiled the bottom of the pan so that the tomato mixture wouldn’t stick when it was inverted.
I really, really liked the way this turned out, fully of homegrown tomato flavor, the bite of basil, quite fancy looking and yet, pretty easy to make. It would make an impressive appetizer or first-course dish that is rich in flavor and appealing to the eye. Best of all, it tastes delicious!
Tomato Tarte Tatin
2 Lbs. Ripe Tomatoes (I used 2” Heirloom Pineapple Varietal) sliced in half, (top to
bottom), seeds removed. You could also use Roma or Juliette, just look for a smaller tomato or a larger Grape cherry tomato.
1 – 9” Pie Crust to fit a 9” springform pan
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar (I used Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve), my personal favorite
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Oregano
1 Tablespoon Basil “Chiffonade” (rolled and sliced thin fresh basil for garnish ribbons)
Salt and pepper, oil for oiling pan.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare your pie crust and refrigerate until ready to use (I used my own but you could use a commercial crust). Personally, if you use a commercial crust I would roll it a bit thinner and discard the part I didn’t need as I think commercial crusts are typically thicker than I like (always calorie aware). In a large skillet, melt the butter; add brown sugar and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the mixture starts to caramelize. Lower heat to medium, place tomatoes in pan, skin side down. Cover and cook on medium-low for 5 – 10 minutes until tomatoes release their juices. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top and cook, uncovered for an additional 5 minutes or until excess juices have mostly simmered off
Lightly grease the bottom off the springform pan, remove tomatoes from pan with slotted spoon and place skin-side down in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the chopped oregano. Top with pie crust and prick the crust with a fork every couple of inches to allow steam to escape. Place in hot oven with cookie sheet underneath to catch any juices and bake at 400 until the crust begins to turn golden. Remove from oven. Cool about 5 minutes and then remove springform sides. Invert onto serving platter and lift off the bottom of the springform. Top with basil and serve.