Provençal tart scented with basil
- July 2009
- Serves 4
- Takes 30 min to make, about 20 min to cook, plus cooling
This vegetarian tart is a great summery supper. You can vary the toppings on this Provençal recipe by Raymond Blanc – see the tips below.
- 61.4g (25.4g saturated)
- 54.1g (7.2g sugar)
- Plain flour, for dusting
- 500g pack all-butter puff pastry (we like Saxby’s All-Butter Puff Pastry, from major supermarkets)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 600g (about 48) vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
- 250g (about 20) baby mozzarella balls, sliced
- 16 black olives, pitted and halved
- Handful fresh basil leaves
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Lightly flour a work surface. Cut the puff pastry into 4, then roll out to 4 x 18cm squares that are 3mm thick (about the thickness of a pound coin). Place on a lightly floured tray and chill for 5 minutes. Remove and cut out 4 x 16cm circles, then, with a sharp knife, score an indent all around each one, about 1cm in from the edge, to make a border, and chill on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
- Preheat the oven to 230°C/fan210°C/gas 8. In a frying pan over a low heat, soften the onion with the thyme in half the oil for 8 minutes without browning the onion, season, then leave to cool.
- Take the puff pastries out of the fridge. Spread the onion mixture onto the pastry inside the scored line and top with the halved tomatoes, packed together.
- Brush the tomatoes and the edges of the pastries with the rest of the olive oil and season. Cook in the oven for 12 minutes.
- When cooked, remove the tarts from the oven and arrange the mozzarella and olives over the tomatoes. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
- Garnish with basil and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil to serve.
The puff pastry rounds can be prepared in advance, placed on a baking sheet and chilled.
For alternate toppings, spread black olive tapenade on the base of the tart cases, and add two boiled and puréed garlic cloves to the onions. You can add slices of blanched courgettes between the tomato slices, and garnish the tart with anchovies.
Also try various herbs; the choice is yours: sage, thyme… And a fresh pistou or pesto sauce would make a delicious dressing to accompany this dish.
A fruity, chilled Provence rosé will be heavenly with this tart.
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