I recently watched an episode of Chef's Table: France on Netflix featuring Chef Alain Passard of Arpège, who has since become my cooking idol. He has his own gardens which supply his restaurant, and he decides the menu each morning based on what is harvested from the gardens. I highly recommend watching this episode (It's in French with English subtitles, by the way). One of the dishes he prepared on the episode was a tomato tarte which looked amazing. I decided then and there that I would have to try my own version.
This week, the grocery store had a bin full of fresh, green tomatoes which were calling to me, so I grabbed a few. I have had little experience with green tomatoes, but am always impressed by them when my sister, DeeDee, fries them up. However, I am trying to eat cleaner lately, including limiting fried food, so I thought that putting them on a tarte might be a better option. Now, green tomatoes can be rather tangy, so I wanted to add some sweetness to balance that tang. Then, in a moment of serendipity, I found a forgotten bag of onions in my pantry. I immediately thought to caramelize them with some balsamic vinegar to get them extra sweet and add them to the tarte with the green tomatoes.
Chef Alain Passard makes his own tarte dough, but ain't nobody got time for that in this house! So, instead, I bought a package of puff pastry sheets to shave off a good hour of preparing dough. Also, the green tomatoes were at different stages of ripeness, so I layered them by color for a pretty presentation.
The house smelled so good while it was baking. I couldn't wait to try it. I was a little concerned that the green tomatoes would not cook down in time, but I was worried for nothing. It came out perfect! I don't think I would change a thing next time. The whole process took about 15 minutes to prepare and 35 minutes to bake. Nothing complicated about it. This tarte will be making its public debut at my next dinner party, which I am going to schedule for sooner rather than later because I can't wait for my friends and family to try it. Here's the recipe to make it yourself in case you don't get an invite:
Recipe (Serves 10)
2 green tomatoes (of varying ripeness for color), sliced 1/4 inch thin.
3 white onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. refined coconut oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 pkg puff pastry sheets (2 per pkg) NOTE: YOU MUST THAW THESE, SO PLAN AHEAD!
3 tsp. kosher salt: 2 tsp. for onions, 1 tsp. for tomatoes
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Heat a large pan on medium and then add the coconut oil. Add sliced onions to pan and stir to coat with oil. Add salt to the onions and stir occasionally til the onions are translucent and soft (about 8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, lay the sliced tomatoes on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme. Add balsamic vinegar to the onions, stir. Cover the onions and reduce heat to medium low so that the vinegar turns into a glaze. Cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let them cool slightly. Place the puff pastry sheets on the cookie sheet. They will need to slightly overlap. Spread the onions on top of the puff pastry, then layer the tomatoes (in a colorful pattern) over the onions. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs. Fold over any extra edges of the puff pastry, then place the cookie sheet in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool completely before storing (if you even have any left) so that the crust doesn't get soggy.
Get creative! One way to get out of your routine, and simultaneously save money, is to use ingredients you already have in the house. When I started restricting my trips to the grocery store to once per week, not only did I save a bunch of cash, but was forced to think outside of the box in creating meals.