Sometimes I wonder why I bother posting some recipes: they’re so simple, and their ingredients are so few or unremarkable, that in an increasingly sophisticated foodie world they are likely to make the casual blog browser shrug and go “Meh,” before surfing away.
Here’s the thing, though: good ingredients only need simple a treatment. Good ingredients can make a simple dish taste absolutely divine. In this case, just one ingredient: beautiful tomatoes.
Unless you grow your own, beautiful tomatoes that smell and taste as God intended are as rare and precious as truffles. When you see them, you bow your head, say a little prayer of thanks, buy as many as you can, and get them home with all due haste. Slice them up thick for a mayo-slathered sandwich, or drench them with olive oil and perfume them with basil. Or just bite into one like an apple, perhaps powdering each bite with a drift of sea salt. Any leftover ‘matas can go into this tart, which is far greater than the sum of its parts.
A bit of a leap of faith is necessary here, because I really can’t tell you how special this tart - which was demolished in one sitting by a small number of diners that included tiny, picky eaters - is. You’ll just have to find great tomatoes, make it and eat it. Then you can tell me.
BACON AND TOMATO TART
1 x recipe Nidia's Tart Crust, or enough shortcrust pastry for a single crust
600g. small, ripe tomatoes, blanched and peeled
2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 onions, sliced
300g. bacon, diced
4 large eggs
250g. cheddar (white cheddar in the US), grated
1/4 cup homemade mayonnaise or cream
freshly ground pepper to taste
fresh oregano leaves, to taste
What you do:
1. Preheat oven to 180oC and lightly grease tart pan. Line tart pan with pastry. Quarter tomatoes and remove seeds. (I did this straight into a plastic container. The seeds have gone into the freezer for the next time I make sauce.) Sprinkle with salt, toss, and place in colander to drain while you make filling.
2. Heat oil over medium heat and add onions. (I also add the bacon rinds at this point for extra flavour and moisture, and remove them when they’ve finished rendering, whereupon hungry vultures - my sons and husband – descend and demolish them.) Sweat until translucent. Add bacon, and increase heat to high. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until bacon begins to brown. Set aside.
3. In a bowl, combine eggs, cheddar, and mayonnaise or cream, and season with lots of freshly ground pepper – you won’t need salt.
4. To assemble tart, line tart pan with crust. Spoon in bacon and onion, then evenly spread cheddar mixture over the top. Press tomato quarters, cut side down, into cheddar mixture. Scatter over oregano leaves. Bake for 45 minutes, until set and golden. Allow to settle for a few minutes before unmoulding and serving.