This Week: Tomato Tarte Tatin

Yes, I know, this is something of a curveball for all you regular Joe Pastry readers, since this blog is devoted first and foremost to classic preparations and techniques. However I’m drowning in tomatoes just now, and good tomato-oriented pastry recipes are few and far between. Tom Colicchio’s tomato tarte tatin, which became famous as a savory side dish at New York’s Grammercy Tavern, fills the bill quite nicely. Call it a clever twist on a classic, one that will allow me to show you not only how to make caramelized onions (which are the central ingredient in Alsatian onion tart) but how to slow-roast tomatoes for keeping.

Because let’s be honest, gardeners are really up against it this time of year. I’m new to the art myself, but I can now see the folly of having put in eight tomato plants. I know, I know, I couldn’t help it. I was planning on four, which I knew was a lot, then a neighbor moved unexpectedly, and foisted four more on me. So I planted them.

The first few plump, ripe fruits gave me a rush of joy and pride. But if life teaches us anything, it’s that even the greatest joys have their down side. For abundance can quickly turn to overabundance, and nature’s generous bounty to a pitiless torrent. This is the part of the growing season that gardeners don’t like to talk about much, the Lucy-in-the-candy-factory part, where no matter what you do, no matter how fast you swallow them down, you just can’t make the goody machine stop.

So that’s the situation I’m in at the moment folks, and you’ll forgive me if I stretch the mission of a little to accommodate it. But as you can no doubt tell, I’m desperate. And anyway, I’m always saying I want to do more savory baking. Here’s my chance.

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