heirloom tomato onion tarte tatin

upside down tomato tart

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Some behind the scenes storytelling always makes for good reading. When I’m in my recipe creation frame of mind, there are lots of things that I consider when coming up with delicious recipes. First of all, is taste, is it something that just flat out tastes good? Another is ease of preparation. In today’s busy lives of families, Millenials, GenX’rs and even retirees, you want to do ‘home’ cooking but you don’t want to be chained to the kitchen. So quick and uncomplicated makes for the most popular and doable recipes. Certainly, THE last thing I want to do is scare you off with a recipe that looks like you need to be a culinary school graduate to do it! Other considerations are can you find the ingredients. I mean we all don’t have Trader Joes, Whole Foods, gourmet shops, grocers, bakeries, meat shops, farmers markets, fish and cheese mongers right around the corner. And, along this same line, I want the ingredients to be affordable. And, of course, I think about how gorgeous is this recipe going to ‘look’ as in plating when I serve it. I still believe in #prettyeating makes for even more scrumptious food. Finally, but probably not lastly, I want the end product to have a uniqueness to it. I want you to learn something new about cooking, maybe even the history of food. This heirloom tomato onion tarte tatin, or as Food Network renamed it, upside down tomato tart, was conceived with these ideas in mind.

A tarte tatin is basically an upside down pastry. Usually, it’s done with fruit, but I wanted to use this French technique that was ‘discovered’ quite by accident, with something savory. According to ‘history’, maybe folklore, two sisters ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France. One sister was making an apple pie but cooked and burned a little the apples in the skillet. Rather than tossing out, she decided to put the crust on top of the apples that were in the skillet. Then she baked it, flipped it out of the skillet and served. Well, it was supposedly a hit with guests, and the rest is history. The ‘tarte tatin’ became a baking ‘technique’ that purportedly had been done even earlier some 40 years prior by another patissier by the name of M. A. Carême. Regardless of the clarity of this history, it’s fact that the Hotel Tatin made the sisters’ dish the ‘signature’ hotel dish.

Shifting now to something else about this recipe- that’s even more spectacular. It’s one that I entered into a contest. If you follow me and know me, I love food competitions and cooking contests. So, when I saw that Food Network magazine was looking for ideas from their readers for the cover of their Fall 2016 September magazine, I thought what more beautiful to grace the cover of this insanely popular magazine than this stunning heirloom tomato onion tarte tatin! Food Network had never invited readers to be ‘cover stars’ and I jumped at the chance to throw my idea into the ring.

From there, I went about creating a new recipe, a twist on something unique like the tarte tatin using savory flair. I adhered to all the aforementioned points about what I consider in recipe development. And, this delicious recipe was born! Sometimes when you enter contests, you just have a ‘feeling’ and I had that ‘feeling’ after I photographed this recipe. Then when I had several people taste it, and, it got rave reviews, well, I just felt even more confident that this could be a winner. Amazingly, it was!!

upside down tomato tart

When I got my magazine, I was traveling, and on a flight connection, I walked into a couple of airport shops. I mean talk about the exhilaration I felt when I looked at the rack of magazines, lots of cooking magazines, and here I see Food Network with my recipe gracing the cover! Yes, a ‘cover star’ is born! Yes, from tomatoes! And, I couldn’t have been more thrilled and exhilarated. I wanted to go out into the crowded busy terminal, throw my arms in the air, shout at the top of my lungs, ‘Yes!! I’m a cover star!!’

Reading Maile Carpenter’s Editor’s Letter was even more spine tingling. She talked about this being the first time ever that FN had considered using a reader’s recipe idea for the cover. She described the many entries and the grueling due diligence that was done with the top ten, then down to the top four, then the final decision after mocking up magazine covers with the four finalists. Looking at the three runners up just makes my head swim. Recipes and photos that could grace any magazine cover, yes, they were that stunning, sexxxy, and spectacular! Finally, a group of magazine executives, including Maile’s own boss, Ellen Levine, made the decision. They believed the tomato tart was a “real winner”!

Yes, this is my story. My foodie peeps, dreams do come true. Dreams have no expiration date. You just have to put yourself out there. Take a chance. Go the edge and look at the possibilities. Don’t be afraid. Don’t let all that mindful self-doubt and self-talk hold you back. You just might find huge surprises awaiting you if you only take that step into the unknown. Thanks for listening to all my chatter. Here’s my recipe. Pick up a copy of the magazine and see what might have been tweaked or changed in the recipe from their professional chefs in the Food Network kitchen. You can see my photos that I took. Then the magazine has their professional photographer’s phots. I thought I was seeing double! Just know that when you make this dish, it’s one cover star and it’s sure to make your tastebuds dance! xoxox ~peace & namaste~ ally
upside down tomato tart

heirloom tomato onion tarte tatin

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • Preheat oven to 400 then reduce to 375
  • 4 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, slice larger ones in half lengthwise
  • ½ large sweet onion, sliced thinly into half-moon pieces
  • 1 tsp. lemon pepper
  • ½ tsp. coarse ground pepper
  • ½ tsp. red chili flakes
  • 4 Tbl. bacon drippings, if congealed microwave on high for 8-10 seconds to make liquid based
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • ½ cup asiago cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 pieces puff pastry, room temperature, approximately 3x9 lengths, pinched together at the 9” seams making one large piece (when together you have a 9" square piece)
  • Cooking spray
  • GARNISH & SERVING
  • ¼ cup fresh sweet basil, chopped
  • ½ cup sour cream

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, onions, lemon pepper, pepper, chili flakes, and bacon drippings. Toss and blend. Spread on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Roast in a preheated 400 oven for 20 minutes. Remove and cool.
  • Mix together the tomato/onion mixture, lemon juice and asiago. Put in a 8-9” well-seasoned cast iron skillet coated with cooking spray (bottom and sides). Take your fingers and make about a ½” ‘moat’ around the mixture leaving room to tuck the pastry around.
  • Place the puff pastry sheet on top. Roll (inward into the skillet) excess pastry and tuck around the tomato/onion mixture forming a ‘dome’.
  • Place the skillet on a cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for about 35-40 minutes or flaky and golden brown. Remove and let it cool about 5 minutes.
  • Place a larger round plate or platter on top and flip over. Sprinkle on the fresh basil. Cool another 5-7 minutes, slice and serve with a dollop of sour cream.
  •  

Notes

Perfect for breakfast with a steamed sunny side egg on top each slice.

Can be eaten warm or room temperature. Equally as deeelish!

The heirloom cherry tomatoes add a special flair, but you could use all red cherry tomatoes.

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upside down tomato tart

 

25 Comments

  1. Carolyn Ingram

    This looks divine!

  2. What a clever twist — and delicious use of tomatoes!

  3. Love this idea! It looks delish!

  4. Wow – congrats on being featured by Food Network Magazine – I can see why, this is gorgeous!!

  5. This tart looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Jocelyn! Thank you, darlin…it’s quite a nice presentation. And, different! Thanks for swinging by…I always love seeing your beautiful face!! xo ~ally

  6. I remember when I saw this cover of Food Network Magazine!! So happy for you!! I can see why they went crazy for this tart—it’s the perfect way to showcase summer tomatoes. xo

    • Liz! First of all, thanks for taking the time to come back and leave your delightful and sweet comment! Yes, this tart is perfect for the summer and way into the Fall! Thanks, luv! xoo

  7. Looks amazing!

  8. Morgan OConnor

    Hi! I made this over the weekend and I had a pan full of tomato liquid, which of course ruined the puff pastry. What did I do wrong?

    • Hi, Morgan!

      First of all, thanks for making it and finding it here on my website. I’m not sure what you may have done. When you say it ruined the puff pastry, what do you mean? Here’s a few suggestions for another try if you want to give it a whirl. Slice all your cherry tomatoes into lengthwise halves then gently pat out some of the excess liquid with paper towels. When mix together the tomato/onion mixture, lemon juice and asiago, add in 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour (not heaping ones, exact measure). Blend this into the mixture. Do the rest of the recipe as is. Make sure your skillet (preferably cast iron) is well greased around the rim for easy release of your dough. Let me know, luv, how this works for you. You do want some ‘juice’ of course just for the tastiness. Alrighty, will wait to hear back from you!! xoxo ~ally

  9. Pingback: » Tomato Basil Upside Down Focaccia Sumptuous Spoonfuls

  10. That cherry tomatoes look great!

  11. Congrats!! I loved reading this article in my latest FN magazine myself

  12. Of course you won!! You are a star and an inspiration, Ally! The thing I love most about summer – is succulent, sweet homegrown tomatoes. It’s the only reason I started a garden after all those years of toil when we were kids. I’ve made heirloom tomato tarts – now I’m going to have to make a tarte tatin 🙂

    • Priscilla! You are so generous w/your words. Thank you! I’m jealous b/c in CA you have summertime all year long and get those beautiful ‘maters. But, growing your own is even more special. And, those heirlooms are just divine. Like caviar to me! Thank you, luv, I’m, of course, thrilled to have this honor w/FN magazine. My 15 minutes is quickly coming to an end 🙁 Oh, well, cheers to the 15!! Hugs & Love xoxo ~ally

  13. Ally, it’s no surprise (to me) that you were singled out by Food Network… your tomato tarte tatin looks spectacular! I’ve always wanted to make the classic “apple” version — why not a savory version with summer’s bounty, as conceived by YOU?! (So, SO proud o’ you!) Your world (and imagination and kitchen) continues to rock mine. Goodness, girl, congrats… xo! WOW.

    • Kim…you know how much I love you…thank you!! Yes, you must do this recipe then do it the traditional way w/apples. I’ve done the apple, and it maaahhhhhvelous, luv! W/the summer’s bounty, why not change up a standard ‘tomato pie’! Thank you for all your support. It’s our world of crazy cooking and sharing w/those we love. xoxo ~ally

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