Tarte à la tomate

This is high season for French tomato tart, and the good news is that producing one is as easy as, well, pie. But there’s a secret ingredient without which this tart would lose its special French identity. No, I’m not talking about the garlic, thyme and olive oil that give French tomato tart the flavors of Provence. The secret ingredient from which the tart gets its zing is … Dijon mustard. Now as you may imagine there are many variations.

Tarte à la tomate / French tomato tart

The key ingredient is of course the tomatoes. Any variety is just fine, the best being those straight from the garden. The mustard is also a given, and only the real thing will do. Beware of impostors like American-made ‘Grey Poupon’, which unfortunately tends to include sugar. But as for the other ingredients, opinions diverge widely and there is no consensus even on something as simple as garlic. Many French recipes for this tart skip the garlic, but it marries so well with tomatoes that I always include it.

Very many recipes include cheese, usually grated Comté or Gruyère. Another option is to sprinkle the tomatoes with feta. I prefer it without the cheese, but this is a matter of personal taste. Up to you. The tart is sometimes topped with anchovies, olives or both. And fresh basil scattered over the tart once it comes out of the oven adds a delightful taste.

The key to keeping it simple is (shh!) to use an unbaked store-bought tart crust, the reason being that this tart is generally made with pâte feuilleté — French puff pastry — which is a bit of a production and not really within the realm of everyday cooking. If you’d like to make your own tart crust, I’d suggest pâte brisée. To see the recipe, click here.

This post comes at the request of a reader, who asked to see a recipe for tomato tart some time ago. Tomatoes are at last back in season — et voilà. I love getting your suggestions for recipes, so please keep them coming. And…

Happy cooking.


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2 Responses to Tarte à la tomate

  1. Swazi says:

    What kind of mustard should we use if we live in USA

    • Meg says:

      Good question! I thought it might be difficult to answer as I haven’t lived in the States in many years, but a quick Internet checked turned up a couple of sources, and there are undoubtedly more. At the higher end of the spectrum, I found the whole-grain mustard known as ‘moutarde de Meaux’ at Zabars, which ships throughout the United States: http://www.zabars.com/productshow?pid=A2CT001
      And surprisingly, at the other end of the spectrum, I found authentic-looking (no sugar) French Dijon mustard at Kroger: https://www.kroger.com/p/kroger-dijon-mustard/0001111081088
      Either of these would work well in tomato tart. Good luck!

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