Tarte rustique à la tomate

“Rustic” being code for “looks a bit thrown together”. A summery tart that I served as part of a copious apero. You could serve it as a starter or a light lunch dish as well.

If you don’t already know this, tomatoes and mustard are a wonderful combination. This recipe requires properly ripe fresh tomatoes. I made the pastry using surplus sourdough starter, but of course you can use a standard shortcrust recipe. Serve it just warm rather than hot. The bottom may be soggy, but it’s delicious anyway.

Update: You can make this with standard shortcrust, but I recently discovered a Nigel Slater recipe for olive oil pastry which is easy to make and works well with the Mediterranean nature of the tart. So I’ve added that as an alternative.

150 g semi-wholemeal flour (T80 in France)
110 g cold butter, cubed
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
100 g surplus sourdough starter (does not need to be active)
2-3 tbs milk
1 tsp thyme leaves (fresh or dried)
1 egg yolk for glazing
See below for an alternative pastry.
3 tbsp French grain mustard (or use smooth if you prefer)
500 g ripe tomatoes
50 g feta
fresh thyme leaves
olive oil
black pepper
sea salt flakes (fleur de sel)

Put the flour, thyme, sugar, and salt in a bowl and rub in the butter. Add the starter and mix with a fork to bring the dough together; it will still be crumbly, so add just as much milk as necessary to be able to bring it together into a ball. Wrap in film or put in a plastic bag and put in the fridge for a couple of hours, taking it out 20 minutes or so before you want to make the tart.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Slice the tomatoes thickly, lay out on a plate, and sprinkle with a little salt; leave to drain for 15 minutes, then pat dry with kitchen paper. On a sheet of baking parchment, roll out the pastry into a rough circle. Spread with mustard, leaving a 3-4 cm border at the edges. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the mustard, then fold the rim of pastry over the edges. Sprinkle the thyme leaves over the exposed tomatoes. Now slide the baking parchment onto a baking sheet and use a brush to glaze the turned-over pastry with egg yolk.

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, sprinkle over the crumbled feta, and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Before serving, drizzle over some olive oil and season with black pepper and flakes of sea salt.

Alternative olive oil pastry
200 g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50 g fine polenta
70 ml olive oil
3-4 tbs cold water

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and polenta in a bowl. Add the olive oil and stir in till you have a crumbly mixture. Now add just enough cold water to make the dough hold together. Knead briefly into a ball, wrap in clingfilm, and refrigerate for 20 minutes before using.

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