Thursday, 27 June 2013

Baked Green Tomatoes

Torta Salata di Pomodori Verdi, Ricotta & Pancetta
Green Tomato, Ricotta & Bacon Tart

Despite the fact that it is cold, windy and rainy here in Frankfurt, that we had hailstorms, thunder and lightning, where we should have been having peace, tranquility and hazy Summer sunshine... elsewhere the sun IS shining and there IS some Summer produce growing... thank goodness!

I picked up these small, firm but sweet Sicilian tomatoes at the market hall on Saturday (grazie Nina!) and finally got around to cooking with them this evening. I was surprised at their sweetness to be honest and had been planning to fry them in a Parmesan batter had they been more tart- but no! These little beauties called for another treatment...  

I decided to make a simple tart with them, using a "royale" made with fresh ricotta cheese and egg as a base, with plenty of bacon and onion to add depth of flavor and as with any tomato dish in the world, plenty of fresh basil to go with it.

I started off by sautéing finely diced bacon together with finely chopped Spring onion and a little crushed garlic- just for 3-4 minutes, until it was half done, then setting it to one side to cool, whilst I briefly sautéed the tomatoes, which I had cut into relatively thick slices, also for just a minute or two from each side- just to "get them going" before I began putting this little beauty together- so out they came to cool off... whilst my oven heated up!

I cut my puff-pastry base to size and added an extra strip to the outer edges, to hold the royale and to give the flat tart a better form... I really do need to get a tin sooner or later! Haha! In any case, the royal cosidted simply of one heaped tablespoon of ricotta and 1 egg, whisked together with a tablespoon of Parmesan and seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg. I poured the mixture onto the base of the tart and spread it out gently with the back of a spoon, then added first of all the tomato slices and then the bacon and onion. I seasoned it one last time and then popped the tart into the oven for around 20 minutes at 300°F, then fetched it out, sprinkled it lightly with Parmesan and then popped it back in for a final 4-5 minutes at the highest setting and a final 1-2 minutes under the broiler- yum, yum, yum!

The beautiful big leaves of basil made for a pretty garnish- but I did actually pluck them apart and scattered them on top before slicing and serving... tomatoes love basil! And so do I! And strangely enough, somehow I am pretty sure that you will too! Enjoy!

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