I look forward to outdoor entertaining on warm summer days. Good food is a key part of any successful parties and I am always excited to broaden my repertoire. Chilled soup, pitchers of sangria, a platter of antipasti or charcuterie, grilled kebabs, and no-fuss fruity dessert all immediately come to mind. Earlier this month I was invited to a casual backyard party so I brought something to share with my friends.
I like the low maintenance nature of savoury tarts. They can be enjoyed hot, warm, or room temperature. That means I am free to enjoy the company instead of planning my cooking and serving time window precisely. I can easily make it ahead of time. The choice of filling is a reflection of the season with flavourful ingredients taking centre stage. Quiches (so many quiches!) and onion tarts (like this one and this one) are perennial favourites at home. I came across an old recipe from Orangette for Roasted Tomato Tart with Crème Fraiche and Thyme. I was immediately drawn by the concentration of flavour that four pounds of plum tomatoes can contribute to one tart.
The tart was made up of simple yet complementing elements. A buttery tart crust cradled a light layer of mustard crème fraiche with a blanket of nutty gruyere cheese. Those four pounds of plum tomatoes spent a long slow roast in the oven with thyme, olive oil, and garlic to create little pockets of tomato essence. The semi-dry tomato halves were fanned out on top of the tart in an attractive manner before a brief bake in the oven to finish off.
When I lifted the dome off the tart carrier, my friends’ reaction was priceless. Sure the tart was pretty but we were all mesmerized by the intense aroma. It was intertwined with tomato, cheese, and butter. One of us immediately asked, you brought pizza?! Even better than pizza, I say! The roasted tomato tart sliced neatly and it felt just light enough for sultry summer evenings. It begged for glasses of chilled white wine.
The only downside to this marvellous treat is the long baking time. Ideally, I would spread out the work to slow roast the tomatoes late at night when the house is not as balmy. And I would actually double the amount of tomatoes so I have enough to fill two tarts. May as well make good use of the oven simultaneously. The thin layer of mustard crème fraiche and melted gruyere cheese effectively boosted the flavour of the tart. I can imagine pairing them with other kinds of roasted vegetable too to create a summer harvest roasted vegetable tart. The season is only half way done. I hope this savoury tart will be part of your summer supper too!