This is a twist on the famous French dessert, Tarte Tatin, in which apples are caramelized and baked in an upside-down tart. This dish is great as a vegetarian appetizer or lovely as a side for meat dishes. It also pairs wonderfully with a salad as a light meal. I learned this dish while leading a culinary adventure at Bayit Bagalil in Israel. Chef Dror Marco shared his kitchen and this recipe, which was the buzz of the dining room.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 8 Tarts ServingsServings
- 12 medium, ripe, firm plum tomatoes
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
- 5 large shallots, unpeeled
- 4 ounces raw, shelled, pistachio meats
- 1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- nonstick cooking spray
- 2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted at room temperature for 20 minutes
- 8 (4-ounce) aluminum tins or ramekins
1. Preheat oven to 275°F.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place cut-side-up on a jellyroll pan. Brush the tops of each tomato half with olive oil. Arrange the thyme sprigs and slices of garlic over the tomatoes. Bake for 1 hour.
3. Raise the oven temperature to 350°F.
4. Place each shallot onto a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil. Close up each packet and place in the oven alongside the tomatoes; the packets can be placed directly on the oven rack. Bake for 1 hour. Remove tomatoes and shallots from oven. Raise the oven temperature to 425˚F.
5. When the shallots are cool enough to handle, open each foil packet and squeeze the roasted shallots out of their skins into a food processor fitted with a metal “S” blade. Discard the skins and stem ends. Add the pistachios, basil leaves, and salt. Pulse a few times to make a paste; make sure the nuts are finely chopped.
6. In a small pot over medium heat, cook the balsamic and honey until it is reduced slightly. Don’t overcook, as it will thicken a lot as it cools.
7. Spray foil tins or ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Brush the inside of the tins with the balsamic reduction. Arrange and overlap 3 tomato halves in each, pressing to make a cup to hold the pesto. Top with some of the pistachio pesto.
8. Using a cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut out circles of puff pastry slightly bigger than the opening of the foil tin; the pastry will shrink when it bakes and will become the bottom crust when unmolded. Top each tart with a puff pastry round, lightly pressing it to the tin. Place tins on a jellyroll pan.
9. Bake for 15 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden. Turn each tart out onto a plate or platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
When roasting the tomatoes and shallots, make extra of both. The uses are endless. Oven-roasted tomatoes are great in salads, omelets, any pasta dish, or cut up into cooked brown rice or wheatberries mixed with a little store-bought pesto. I love adding them to grilled cheese sandwiches and tuna sandwiches. You can toss them in the food processor with fresh thyme and 1-2 cloves of garlic; process to make a pesto that goes with grilled chicken or fish. You can add them to an antipasto platter or make cute hors d’oeuvres by alternating roasted tomatoes with small marinated fresh mozzarella balls and fresh basil leaves on a toothpick.
Roasted shallots are a great ingredient to add to your homemade vinaigrettes; use an immersion blender to blend them in. I squeeze roasted shallots out into a pan and sauté in a little olive oil as the base for a red wine sauce for a steak. You can sauté them in olive oil in a pan and then add baby spinach and a tablespoon of balsamic or red wine vinegar; cook until the spinach is wilted and you have a great side dish. You can even just squeeze them out onto a good roll as the ultimate condiment for a grilled steak sandwich.