Monday, October 25, 2021

Tomato, feta and black garlic tart with puff pastry

When I was in Greece last month, I took tomatoes, good tomatoes, for granted. They were just there, everywhere, juicy and ripe, as red and as sweet as they could be. And then I returned to the Netherlands, the land of the greenhouse tomatoes, which, don’t get me wrong, have served us well all these years, they’re decent, but the mere sight of them left me with a deep longing for the sun-kissed, -hugged and –made love to Greek tomatoes.

 


 

While at the local open market the other day, I spotted the ones you see in the photos of this post. My heart skipped a beat and their vibrant color and even aroma, made me hopeful and giddy. Fresh, in season, naturally grown tomatoes! I may have elbowed a couple of people trying to get to them before they did, but hey, all is fair in love and war (of the tomatoes).

 



 

Once home, I will admit that I ate a couple of them on the spot, over the sink, with a good sprinkling of Greek coarse sea salt from the island of Elafonisos that I got as a gift from a friend while in Greece, and they were very good. Not as good as the Greek ones, don’t get it twisted, but they were good enough to make me smile.

 


 

Some of them we ate sliced, over sandwich bread (I know! But I’m not one to turn my nose up to good white sandwich bread) slathered with homemade mayonnaise and with lots of sea salt and white pepper. And the rest went in this glorious tart. Yes, glorious. Because not only these tomatoes were involved, but feta was involved, and black garlic too, which is like the love child of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, with a pinch of tamarind and a dash of molasses, and very addictive indeed.

 


 

I used puff pastry but shortcrust or any other galette/tart pastry, like this spelt pastry, or this whole-wheat one, would do as well. The flavors were sweet and salty, savory and umami, buttery and tart. What more could you ask? Go on then, make it, before all the good tomatoes are gone, it’s so easy and quick and it can be your next lunch or dinner.

 




Tomato, feta and black garlic tart with puff pastry

Guys, feta is Greek. Please don’t talk to me about any other feta. It’s like talking to an Italian about the Parmigiano Reggiano your country makes. No. Unless your country is Italy, your country does not make Parmigiano Reggiano, period. Let alone good one. Same with feta. Let’s aaaaalways use the Greek one, okay? Otherwise, you’re using something else. Barrel-aged, semi-hard to hard (not dry) feta would be best here. Yeap, there are different kinds of feta in Greece.

To those who have never used or eaten black garlic before: black garlic is supposed to be tender, soft and sticky, not dry and hard. The first time I ever bought the stuff a long time ago, it must have been on the shelf for ages, not properly sealed, and it was so dry I couldn’t tear it apart no matter how hard I tried. I thought I was doing something wrong, I wasn’t. Lesson learned, if it’s dry, toss it out.

 


Yield: 1 large tart, 6 large pieces

 

Ingredients

1 rolled-out sheet of puff pastry, about 25x40 cm (you could always make your own puff pastry too)

85 g feta, hard or semi-hard

130 g Greek yoghurt, 5% fat

2 black garlic cloves, peeled

2-3 tomatoes of different colors and sizes, thinly sliced

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Ground sumac

Extra virgin olive oil

1 egg, beaten lightly with a fork, for glazing the pastry

Fresh mint leaves, for finishing

 

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 185-190 C.

In a small bowl, mash together the feta, yoghurt and black garlic cloves using a fork to get it as smooth as you can, although it is expected to be grainy. Add freshly ground black pepper (3-4 turns of the pepper mill) and a couple of pinches ground sumac, and mix well. 

 

Place the puff pastry sheet on a baking pan lined with baking paper and lightly score a frame, using a knife. Spread the feta mixture evenly inside the frame using preferably a small, bendy, offset spatula, so you don’t make any holes in the pastry.

Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top, overlapping them slightly but not too much so they bake evenly. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, a little sumac and finally drizzle with a little olive oil. 

 

Brush the frame with the beaten egg and place the pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry has a nice golden brown color and the tomatoes have softened and cooked.

Remove the tart from the oven and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and scatter a few fresh mints leaves over the top.

Cut into pieces and enjoy warm!

 


 

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