Caramelised Tomato, Bacon and Olive Tarte Tatin
This richly satisfying tomato tarte tatin makes a delicious light lunch or dinner. Black olives lend the tart a certain umami quality, while the bacon contributes a welcome savoury note to temper the sweetness of gorgeous peak season tomatoes.
I have a hard time resisting savoury tarts. There is something so elemental, cosy, and satisfying about dishes that have stood the test of time. Nonetheless, tarts can sometimes feel like a bit of a project.
While I’ve never been afraid of making my own pastry crust, I love the fact that this particular recipe relies on store-bought all-butter puff pastry. The ready-made pastry makes this tart easy enough for every day. However, the presentation is pretty enough for company.
In experimenting with this recipe, I tried a few different methods. The easiest method, which was prepared in a regular quiche dish was delicious. However, it was a bit too sweet and my youngest tasters did not appreciate the pine nuts involved in the recipe. Therefore, we decided that this slightly more elaborate tart — without pine nuts — was worth the effort.
The three extra steps in this recipe are:
- Pitting and roughly tearing kalamata olives,
- Frying and crumbling bacon (yum!), and
- Caramelising onions
The only one of these steps that is even remotely complicated is caramelising the onions. You probably think that step on its own will take at least 30 minutes. However, I’ve got a pro tip that will have you caramelising onions in 1/3 the time.
Caramelising Onions Faster
In his seminal book, The Food Lab: Better Cooking Through Science, Kenji López-Alt goes into great detail about 3 techniques to speed up caramelisation. The technique I use here is raising the heat and adding a couple of teaspoons of water to dissolve all the browned sugar spots as they appear in various parts of the skillet.
This technique may seem counterintuitive, because water does lower the temperature of the pan ever so slightly. However, steam wilts the onions faster and dissolves the browned sugars from the sides and base of the pan as you stir. Thus, the onions brown faster as well.
You do lose a little bit of flavour compared to slowly caramelised onions. However, this technique shaves a good 20 minutes (at least) off your cooking time. I figure it’s a pretty good tradeoff and it takes this tart from the realm of the special occasion to an everyday possibility. So, for me, the quick method is a no-brainer.
Do give it a try and I hope your family enjoys this tarte tatin every bit as much as mine does. Bon appétit!