There are moments in any marriage that linger in your memory forever. That first kiss, on a cold Boston night. That first real embrace, on her couch. That first night together, on new sheets.

And then, of course, there is the first time I ate rice with Suzen.

“What are you doing?” she asked me. She had this bizarre look on her face, as if I were doing something strange.

So, I paused. I had put the butter on my rice, and I was sprinkling sugar on it. I laid down the spoon. “What’s up?” I asked back. I’m innocent here, because all I was doing was eating my rice the way my grandmother taught me from age three. Hot rice, melting butter, a sprinkling of white sugar.

“You put butter on your rice? AND SUGAR?” It was more accusation than question.

“That’s how I always do it,” I said. I heard my own voice. It was meek. What law had I broken?

“Oh, no, no, no,” she said in a stern voice I had not heard before. Was this what marriage was to be? She took my plate to the kitchen sink, scraped it clean, went to the stove, put on fresh rice, and sat the new plate before me.

“What do I do now?” I asked.

“Here,” she shoved the salt and pepper towards me. It’s not the same. Not at all.

So, for twenty-seven years I have been a little rice sensitive. Then Suzen showed me this recipe.

“Rice and mustard?” I asked.

“What do you know about rice,” she retorted. “It’ll be fine.” Apparently, the butter and sugar are not coming back any time soon.

But this rice and mustard combo thing is not just fine. It’s terrific. This semi-confit cherry tomato is tart offers flavor and texture surprise. The filling is smooth but vibrant in your mouth, contrasting with the semi-confit tomatoes that explode with each bite.

This tart is uses the semi-confit tomatoes from yesterday’s blog. And you need a tart shell. The recipe for Michel Roux’s pate brisee will appear here tomorrow. Of course, you can use your own tart shell, too, but Roux’s is particularly excellent.

Semi-Confit Cherry Tomato Tart

Yield: serves 6


  • 9 ounces pate brisée [recipe to be blogged tomorrow from Pierre Roux]
  • 4 tablespoons white rice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 tablespoons strong Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, lightly whipped
  • 18 ounces semi-confit cherry tomatoes [see blog post from yesterday]
  • 6 basil leaves, snipped.


Roll out the dough to a circle, 1/8 inch thick and use to line an 8-inch diameter, 1 ¼ inch deep tart ring. Chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375⁰F. Prick the base of the pastry shell. Bake the shell blind for 40 minutes, or until fully cooked. [Note: to blind bake, cover the pastry top with wax or parchment paper. Fill the shell a full layer of beans, covering every square inch of the pastry.] For the last 15 minutes of baking, remove the parchment paper and beans and lower the oven temperature to 340⁰F.

Lift off the tart ring, transfer the pastry shell to a wire rack, and let cool.

In the meantime, cook the rice in boiling salted water for 18 minutes. Refresh under cold running water and drain thoroughly. Tip the cooked rice into a bowl and mix with the mustard and then the whipped cream. Season and spread the rice mixture in the pastry shell. Arrange the tomatoes on the rice, placed shoe still with stalks in the center.

Sprinkle on the snipped basis and serve at room temperature. When serving, offer some French sea salt and crushed pepper on the table to sprinkle on the tart.

The tart is best eaten at room temperature. You can make a day ahead, and then allow to warm up. The filling is mellower on Day 2.

Source: Pastry by Michel Roux