As we get further into the heart of a Provençal spring, the more vibrant the markets become and the more interesting the cooking opportunities. Apart from the seafood and fish merchants, the real draw of the season is the abundance of fresh vegetables – tomatoes, white, green & violet asparagus, and more varieties of artichokes than seem possible.
Although we’re not in the peak of tomato season yet, one of our favorite (and incredibly easy) things to make is tomates Provençales – with or without Herbes de Provence, depending on which recipe you follow. And you really can’t get more “sunshine on your plate” than this southern favorite.
Herbes de Provence also makes a tasty addition to grilled meats, vegetables, and a host of tarts. They’re particularly good sprinkled on roasted potatoes (drizzled with olive oil) and you’ll find that some cooks tend to be quite liberal with where they put their herbes – ie. my husband who tried to convince me that a few dashes would greatly improve my meat lasagna. Somewhere a few Italian mammas are crying in their cannolis…
Apart from combing the markets, we’re waiting with great excitement for the start of summer and picnic season to begin – with the beautiful scenery and abundance of sunshine, some of the best things to do in Provence are free.
I hope you enjoy this simple (& delicious) tart recipe and a big bonjour from Provence.
Tomato & Onion Tart with Herbes de Provence
2 large onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced thin
2 tablespoons olive oil
puff pastry dough (or make your own here)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 pound plum tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 pound medium yellow tomatoes (about 2) or 1/2 pound plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 tablespoon of Herbes de Provence (or thyme)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large skillet, cook onions with salt to taste in oil, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove lid and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden and any liquid evaporates. Remove skillet from heat to cool onions slightly.
On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll dough into a 14-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick). Fold round in half and transfer to a 12-inch tart pan. Unfold dough, easing to fit, and trim overhang to 3/4 inch. Fold overhang toward center and press against side of pan or dish. Spread mustard over dough and top with onions. Arrange tomato wedges in concentric circles over onions and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Herbes de Provence.
Bake tart in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden, and cool on a rack. Serve warm.
recipe credit: adapted from epicurious.com