After what seemed like an endless bout of bad weather for most of the country, the sun has finally decided to return. Hopefully, with the promise to have the summer compensate for the less-than-perfect spring we’ve had to endure.
To me, warm weather and sunshine both equal ‘light and easy’. From the clothes I wear, to the wine I drink (anyone for a beautifully blushing rosé?), to the food I eat. This is the season of strawberries that tempt us with their scent from across the market. It’s the season of salads and seafood. And, it’s the season of colourful vegetables that make eating healthily as simple as a summer breeze. In short, it’s a season to be relished with gusto!
Pretty much like this delicious tomato tart. It reminds me of a similar one I once tried at a tomato festival in the city of Marmande (the French tomato capital, as far as I’m concerned) on a warm afternoon in the middle of July. This wonderful tart couldn’t be any easier to make. A layer of puff pastry is covered with enough tapenade to accent the sweetness of the thinly-sliced, sun-ripe tomatoes that line its surface. It is then sprinkled with capers and fresh thyme before going in the oven for about twenty minutes. The result is a crisp, flavourful tart that will make your taste buds sing and remind you why this is such a fantastic season!
Note: An added bonus is this recipe’s versatility. Use mustard instead of tapenade, skip the capers and opt for anchovies or olives, top with cheese and pine nuts if desired — the possibilities are endless!
Summer Tomato Tart
Serves 4 as a light lunch, or 8 as an afternoon nibble
Roll of puff pastry
3-4 ripe tomatoes (enough to cover the surface of the pastry), thinly sliced
2 tbsps tapenade
2 tbsps capers
Leaves from a few sprigs of thyme
Fleur de sel and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the pastry onto the paper, prick with the tongs of a fork, and spread with the tapenade. Top with the tomatoes leaving some space around the edges free (these can be rolled in a bit and crimped with the tongs of a fork if desired). Scatter the capers and thyme over the tart and bake it for approximately 20 minutes. Serve warm with a simply dressed salad and a chilled rosé.
Paola, Queen of French Cuisine!
Paola Westbeek is a food, wine and travel writer with a good dose of joie de vivre. She is passionate about French cooking, old-fashioned chansons, Rembrandt and life. Paola is available for all kinds of recipe development, food and wine writing, and culinary advice. For more information visit: inmylife-paola.blogspot.com, Twitter @la_douce_vie