If you grow your own tomatoes you’re probably eyeing them and wondering if they’re all going to ripen now the days are shortening (and let’s not even mention the dreaded blight). If you do find yourself with a lot of green tomatoes on your hands this is a good recipe to have handy.
Tomato tarte tatins are more usually made with ripe fruit but I think the sharp flavour of green tomatoes lends itself well to this savoury recipe. The anchovies are optional, and omitting them will make this vegetarian, but I enjoy the pockets of salty punch.
I’ve seen the red tomato version made, variously, with red wine vinegar or honey in place of the balsamic and sugar so by all means experiment, but I really like Felicity Cloake’s inclusion of butter in the caramel. In the case of green tomatoes it enriches what can be a rather austere fruit.
You’ll need an oven-proof frying pan or skillet of about 26cm diameter. If you’re using bought pastry I think it is easier to use a block rather than ready-rolled, which is already so thin that by the time you’ve stretched it to fit the pan it’s looking a bit threadbare.
About 750g green tomatoes
3 tbs olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
A few sprigs of oregano or thyme
Salt and pepper
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
400g puff pastry
50g feta or goat’s cheese, crumbled into small chunks
Halve the tomatoes, heat 2 tbs of the oil in a frying pan and fry them cut side down on a moderate heat for five minutes or so, until they’ve taken on some colour and have softened a little. You may need to do this in batches. When done, remove and set aside.
Take the skillet you’ll be making the tart in and add the butter, sugar and balsamic vinegar. Cook on a moderate heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then let it bubble down until it’s thick and gloopy.
Remove from the heat and add the tomatoes, cut side up, in concentric circles, packing them as tightly as possible. Tuck in the anchovy fillets, if using, season with salt and pepper and scatter in the herbs. Set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Roll out the pastry fairly thinly and cut out a disc about 1cm bigger than the diameter of your skillet.
Pop it in the fridge until the oven is up to temperature. Then place it over the tomatoes, tucking the excess in at the sides. Brush the remaining oil over the pastry and cut a few vents to let out the steam.
Cook for 30-40 minutes (peer through the window after 25 minutes then at five minute intervals because ovens vary so much) until puffed and golden. Remove from the oven, run a knife around the edge and set aside for 10 minutes.
Drain any excess liquid into a small jug. Place a large plate over the top of the tart, invert it quickly and if any of the tomatoes have become dislodged, tuck them back in place. Cool for another 10 minutes as it’s better warm than piping hot.
Pour over any juice, scatter over the cheese and a few more herbs and serve sliced into wedges. It’s good with a crunchy salad.