In Season: Tomatoes

Summer tomatoes at Marché Convention

Summer tomatoes at Marché Convention

When you commit to eating locally and seasonally in a place like Paris, you swiftly see a reduction of your tomato intake. Enterprising foodies will anticipate the short tomato season and stock up on the lovely summer speciality, quickly canning it away for out-of-season sauces and treats. The sun dried variety works in a pinch on a grey day, but nothing really beats a vine-ripe tomato purchased directly from the farmer and consumed almost immediately. 

Tomatoes growing in a Paris community garden

Tomatoes growing in a Paris community garden

My excitement for the season's first tomatoes is rivaled only by the arrival of the blueberry man at Marché Batignolles, so I was ecstatic when I saw that my Marché Ornano farmer, Jean-Michel, brought tomates to the market for the first time a few weeks ago. I couldn't wait to get them home and prepare a tomato-centric dish. 

French cuisine is often associated with sauces and complicated techniques, but French cookbooks and chatty market goers can provide simple recipes that focus on bringing out the flavor of a single, humble ingredient. That is exactly what this Tomato Mustard Tart recipe succeeds in doing. While balancing the sweetness of ripe tomatoes with the tang of dijon mustard this easy tart reaches a balance that screams summertime. Bon appetit! 

Tomato Mustard Tart 

Ingredients

Pâte Brisée (see below)

4-5 large ripe tomatoes

2-3 tablespoons of dijon mustard

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsps herbes de provence

1 pinch sea salt

2 tbsps grated parmesan

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F/ 200° C. Roll out pâte brisée and lay in a buttered 10-12 in tart pan. Poke the bottom with a fork. Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on the bottom of the pan. Arrange 1/4 inch slices of tomato in the pan in a circular pattern, with slight overlap. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes then sprinkle with herbes de provence, a pinch of sea salt, and parmesan. Bake for 25-30 mins, or until tomatoes are golden brown on top. 

Pâte Brisée

Ingredients

2 1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter (cold), cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/4-1/2 cup ice cold water

Preparation

Mix flour and salt together in a bowl or in a food processor on low speed. Add butter and blend in. If using a food processor, mix slowly and no longer than 15 seconds, if by had no longer than a minute, just enough to integrate butter. It is okay if there are lumps in your dough, this will blend between the rolling out and baking. Slowly add ice water while processing or mixing by hand again, do not mix longer than another 15-30 seconds with a food processor or 1 minute by hand. Bring together dough, it can be crumbly, but should stick when pressed together. Form a disc with the dough, about 1/2 inch thick and 4-5 inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Once chilled, remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. If your dough is too cold when rolling out it will tear, if it is too warm it will stick to the rolling pin and surface. When the dough is just lightly sticky, you can roll it out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Roll to desired size, flipping over as necessary. Make sure you have a uniform thickness and then line a buttered pie tin with the dough, removing excess dough with a knife.