Thought to originate in the South of France, this version is from my hometown region in northeastern France: Alsace. A French Tomato Tart is a perfect balance of sweet, ripened tomatoes and salty olives and anchovies. In France, tarts are not considered special-occasion fare, but a staple – even a comfort food to some. It makes a stunning presentation and is actually quite easy to make – even the dough, which in this case, is pressed into the pan – no rolling pin required!
My recipe is made with gruyere cheese, whereas the south of France version is more predominately made with goat cheese. I like to serve this delicious and savory tart with a side of greens in a light vinaigrette. Your tastebuds will dance from the flavorful combination of the Dijon mustard with the sweetness of the tomato, contrasted with the saltiness of the olives and anchovies.
French Tomato Tart Recipe
French Tomato Tart
Prep Time: 20 mins
Ingredients to Serve 6
- 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup butter
- 1 large egg
- 4 firm-ripe medium sized tomatoes about 1 ½ lb. total, rinsed and cored
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons organic tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
- 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 6-8 canned anchovy fillets drained (optional)
- 6-8 kalamata or niçoise olives
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a food processor or bowl, combine flour and butter. Whirl or cut in with pastry blender or two knives until fine crumbs form. Add egg and whirl or stir with a fork until dough holds together. Pat dough into a ball, then press evenly over bottom and sides of a 10-inch tart pan with removable rim. Bake in oven until crust is pale gold, about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut tomatoes in half and gently squeeze out seeds. Cut tomatoes crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices and lay on paper towels to drain. Save ends for another use.
Remove baked crust from oven and turn oven to 400 degrees. Spread mustard over bottom of crust, then sprinkle evenly with 1 ½ cups cheese. Fit largest tomato slices snugly in a single layer on cheese. Cut remaining tomato slices into pieces to fill the gaps.
In a small bowl, mix oil to blend with tomato paste, shallots, garlic, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Spread over tomatoes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Arrange anchovies and olives on tomatoes. Bake until cheese is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes. Remove pan rim. Cut into wedges and serve.
Variation: This recipe is from my region in Alsace, and I prefer it with gruyere, but many from burgundy and the south use goat cheese instead.