I first had a version of these tartlets at Brasserie Julien in Paris, with its ravishing Belle Epoque painted ladies (on the walls, not at the tables), giant mirrors and stained glass ceiling panels. It’s hard to focus on the food when you’re gawping at the decor, but these stuck in my mind for 20 years.
I’ve made them a bit more Provençal than Parisian with the addition of a pungent tapenade. Vegetarians can leave out the anchovies in the tapenade, or skip it altogether and just top the tomatoes with some soft, crumbled goats’ cheese.
Either way these make an easy and delicious lunch or supper now that flavoursome home-grown tomatoes are ripening here in the UK. The size of the tartlets depends on how many you can squeeze out of a sheet of puff pastry and whether you want them as a starter or main course. I generally use a small bowl as a template.
Tomato and Tapenade Tartlets
1 sheet all butter puff pastry
700g small cherry tomatoes, ideally different colours
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil leaves, to garnish
For the tapenade:
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
6-8 anchovy fillets, to taste
2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp capers, rinsed
1 tspn lemon juice or wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Cut 4-6 circles (or whatever shape you like) from the pastry and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Top with another piece of parchment and place a second baking sheet on top. This will produce a flat, crisp disc.
Put the tomatoes in a single layer in a roasting tin and toss with a little oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Put the pastry at the top of the oven and the tomatoes underneath and cook for 18-25 minutes (check as your oven will be different to mine) until the pastry is crisp and golden. Keep an eye on the tomatoes, they should be squashy but not collapsed.
While they’re cooking, add all the tapenade ingredients except the oil to a food processor and whizz to a rough paste. Keeping the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream as you would for mayonnaise. Scrape out, check the seasoning and set aside.
When the pastry and tomatoes are done, remove from the oven, and spread the pastry discs right to the edges with a thin layer of tapenade. It’s quite pokey so you don’t need to slather it on; you won’t need all of it but it’ll keep in the fridge, covered with a layer of oil, for up to a week.
Top with the roasted tomatoes, garnish with a few basil leaves and serve warm.