There was a time I couldn’t face another tomato. Whole days in the sun, picking on hands and knees, followed by a tractor ride home in the chill of late afternoon. Four months of dry flaky hands, and the constant pungent, raw, green leafy smell of the vines on clothes and body. During these months on a moshav in Israel I ate almost nothing other than tomato. Pay from our Farmer included accommodation, a loaf of bread per day ( between two) and about $5.00/ 100 shekles.
There were tomatoes for breakfast, just like apples. Tomato sandwiches for lunch and tomato bruschetta for dinner. We discovered some of the adjoining farms we passed on the road to our fields grew onions and garlic and potatoes and we soon learned to trade tomatoes for some dietary variety. The small and very expensive store on the moshav stocked basics such as olive oil and condiments. My room mate and I managed to have dinner parties, inviting other workers from the area, for interesting variations on tomato dishes.
Really, the most popular place on the collective farm in the Negev dessert , was the bar, located in a bomb shelter. Going down the ladder at the beginning of the evening was infinitely easier than ascending that ladder at the end of the night. This would often be in the very wee small hours. The drink served was Arak, a very potent aniseed concoction best worn off in bed. Sadly, most mornings began at 5 am. This is the reason for picking on hands and knees. Yes , I know, how immature!
I was reminded of these times when I saw a tomato tart in Rachel Grisewood’s, inspiring book . Rachel is the founder of Manna from Heaven. I absolutely love her book “Manna from Heaven” . It is full of things I would like to cook.
I have changed the recipe a little to suit what I like. I always have goat curd, but if you can’t find any you can use goat chevre or even pesto, to finish off your tart. Serve it as an entree or lunch or cut into quarters to serve as a canape.
Tomato Tart with Goat Curd and Basil
- 200gm flour
- 100gm butter
- 2 Tablespoons water
6 small ripe tomatoes quartered , seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 50ml ximenez sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Prepare the oven at 180 deg.
- Put the tomatoes in a colander , lightly salt and leave to drain.
- For the pastry
- Combine the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in the food processor. Process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the water and pulse till just combined.. Turn onto a bench and press together, wrap and put in the fridge for 1/2 an hour
- Put the sherry vinegar brown sugar and olive oil into a small pot and bring to the boil. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is reduced and sticky. Pour into the base of a 8 cm tart tin or similar. Put the drained tomatoes on top skin side down.
- Roll out the pastry between two pieces of baking paper to about 2 mm thick. Cut out circles that will fit into the tart tins. Rest these in the fridge for 10 min.
- Put onto a baking tray and bake 30min, or until golden.
- Cool slightly , and turn out onto a tray.
- Serve with goat curd, black pepper and shredded basil
If you can’t find my favourite Ximenez sherry vinegar , use a good quality balsamic vinegar ( ask me where to find 12 year old Ximenez vinegar)
Let me know how much you enjoy these tarts!