This recipe is from 2011 and one Suzi and I return to each year. As tomatoes absorb the summer sun and sweeten, they become an excellent centerpiece for a summer tart. Side dish? Main dish? Yes and yes.
In this elegant recipe, both potatoes and tomatoes are bedded in a crust that adds the flavor overtones of Parmesan and chili. “Tart” is, for me, a special word. It always seems to denote something special, something personal, something with a twist that will make me smile. This tart is exactly that lovely treat. There is a dash of richness from the creme fraiche, overtones from sea salt, and a chile hit.
This tart consists of a tomato base topped with potato slices. You can artfully arrange those slices in different patterns and perhaps top with some additional chili flakes or herbs.
This tart takes a bit of effort, but you’ll truly appreciate the results. It can be a side dish, but has the substance of a main course. Try this on a Sunday afternoon. Let the ballgames play out on television while you focus on something sure to be a success.
Chile Potato Tart
Yield: Makes 6 servings
- 1 ½ pounds ripe red plum tomatoes halved lengthwise and seeded [or cherry tomatoes]
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 large red chile
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt flakes
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pound waxy potatoes boiled in their skins for 15 minutes then peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 ¼ cups crème fraiche lightly whipped and seasoned with salt and pepper
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purposes flour
- Pinch of salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced,
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 red chile, seeded and very finely chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
To roast the tomatoes, lightly brush a baking tray with some of the olive oil and arrange the tomatoes cut side up. Add the garlic and whole chile and sprinkle with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle the salt and sugar evenly over the tomatoes and bake in the preheated oven.
Remove the garlic after 10-15 minutes when soft, and squeeze the flesh into a bowl. Remove the chile after 15-20 minutes when the skin is blistered and slightly charred. Leave the tomatoes for 45-50 minutes until very soft and slightly charred. Cool the chile a little, then peel, seed, chop finely, and add to the garlic. Scoop the tomato flesh into the bowl, discarding skins [with cherry tomatoes, simply mash the skins]. Mash the flesh. Season to taste.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan and chile, if using. Add enough cold water to make firm dough.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface and use to line a greased, 10-inch fluted art pan. Lightly prick the base with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes, then line with foil and baking beans. Heat a baking tray on the middle shelf of a preheated oven at. 400°. Put the tart shell on the tray, bake for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the oven and remove the foil and beans. Increase the oven heat to 450°.
Spread the tomato mixture evenly over the tart base, then over with concentric circles of potato slices. Pour the crème fraiche over the potato. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the top is golden.
Source: Potatoes: From Mash To Fries by Annie Nichols
Photo Credits [top]: Canon T2i, 18-55MM Macro lens, F/4, 1/40th second, ISO-2000