So, the inspiration to make this tomato tart came about because I found some cherry tomatoes that were a fantastically vibrant mix of red, zebra, orange, and yellow.
I splurged and bought the DuFour puff pastry from Whole Foods. If I’m going indulge in a dinner that is full of butter, I’m going to do it right.
Ahhh, well. The list of ingredients was pretty simple. But after skimming the recipe when it was “go time”, I thought the tart might be doomed thanks to missing ingredients and lack of time. I had 1 hour to make something that was supposed to take me 2 hours to prep and cook.
I didn’t really read the instructions in advance to see that I need to roast a head of garlic for 45 minutes. NOT TO MENTION that I had assumed I had garlic when I bought the other ingredients, only to find some random cloves hanging out in drawer.
While I was par-cooking the puff pastry in the oven, I went to work on the garlic dilemma.
First attempt – “quick roasted garlic”. This involved cutting off the tops and putting them in a bowl with oil and water, covering them, and microwaving them for a couple of minutes. Outcome – awful. dry. overcooked.
Second attempt – I excitedly realized that I had bought one of those packs of frozen cubes of garlic for the random moment that I might be out of garlic. So I defrosted 4 cubes in the microwave with some water and then added some oil, covered the pyrex bowl with foil, and let it “roast” in the oven for 15 minutes at the tail end of the time the puff pastry was cooking. Outcome – It worked. I’m sure roasting a full head of garlic would be so much better but this did the job…and in the end shaved 45 minutes off the cooking time since I didn’t roast a head of garlic first.
I didn’t have pie weights or enough dried beans to make a difference, so I used rice to weigh down the puff pastry. It “semi” did the job. I had to keep poking the pastry with a fork to pop bubbles during the second phase of baking it with the garlic and parm, but once I covered it with the tomatoes, it didn’t really matter anyway.
The recipe gave me the option of capers or anchovies. I didn’t have capers but did have anchovies. I must say, I loved what the anchovies did here. Also, I didn’t have fresh oregano so I left it out and used just the parsley and chives.
The final product was not only beautiful, but also extremely delicious with amazing layers of flavor. Final advice, read the recipe all the way through. If anything, hopefully this shows you that you can make almost any recipe your own with some tweaks and adaptability (and a glass of wine) can make your time in the kitchen less stressful and more fun.
And here’s how it was SUPPOSED to go down…
Serves 6 (lunch-sized portion) to 8 (appetizer-sized portion). You could double this recipe and bake it in a 13″x18″ rimmed pan.
1 small head garlic or cubed frozen garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus an extra drizzle for the garlic
1 9″x13″ sheet frozen puffed pastry*, thawed in fridge for several hours
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
2 finely chopped anchovies or 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 pounds (about 4 cups) small cherry or grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
Roast garlic: Heat oven to 350°F. Cut head of garlic in half crosswise; drizzle cut ends with a few drops of olive oil, then wrap in tightly foil and bake, directly on oven rack, for 45 minutes, until garlic cloves are completely soft. Set aside. OR defrost 4 frozen garlic cubes in the microwave with a little oil and water. Then place in small oven safe bowl and cover with foil. Roast in oven at same time as pie crust for 15 minutes.
Prepare crust: Increase oven temperature to 375°F. 9″x13″-inch baking sheet (or quarter-sheet pan) with parchment paper. Fit pastry sheet into pan, pressing it against the bottom and sides. Trim pastry hanging over sides of pan, if there is any. Prick bottom of pastry all over with a fork. Lay parchment paper over crust and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or dried. Bake until edges of tart are golden, 25 minutes. Carefully remove weights and parchment. If any parts have bubbled up, poke them with a knife point and they should deflate.
Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out into a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth. Spread over baked par-baked crust with a knife, as if you were buttering bread. Sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper. Return to oven bake until tart shell is golden all over, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside on a cooling rack.
Heat broiler. In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, anchovies, olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and broil, shaking pan once or twice, until tomatoes are blistered and have begun to release their juices, 12 to 14 minutes.
Increase oven heat to 425°F. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomato mixture to the prepared tart shell; distribute tomatoes evenly, in one layer. Sprinkle with the three herbs. Return the tart to the oven and bake it until hot, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting into it.
Tart can be served hot or closer to room temperature. Store leftovers in fridge. Reheat in 325°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.