A Family Heirloom

Tomatoes would have to be one of the most versatile foods going around. I am surprised it has taken me so long to post about them. Perhaps it has to do with them being so common. I don’t mean “common” in a bad way but they are available in Australia all year round thanks to our varied climate and the trusty old greenhouse!

While you can get some great variety and quality at local green grocers, nothing beats a home-grown tomato. Although I live in an apartment, I love the idea of growing my own veggies, chic rustic! My mum has all these great stories about the veggie patches and fruit orchards she grew up with on the farm and they make me seriously jealous. Just imagine all those opportunities for cooking!

I have had varied success growing my own fruit and veg but have managed a few tomatoes over the years. What I love about tomatoes is that you can do so much with them. They might be common but they are anything but boring.

Thanks to great farmers’ markets heirloom varieties are making a comeback and are a really exciting ingredient to work with. I was at the Eveleigh Markets this morning and was so impressed with the variety of heirloom tomatoes – each one different, some slightly imperfect but all full of flavour.

Now I can’t take all the credit for this recipe as it is my version of one my Mum has made for years. It is somewhat of a family favourite, an heirloom even! I think she picked it up from an old English House and Garden magazine. The individual flavours are not exactly a revelation but I can assure you the taste combination is a winner. It is amazing both warm and cold (I actually prefer it cold) and it makes an excellent Autumn lunch or picnic number.

Tomato Tart (feeds 4-6)

  • 10-12 medium tomatoes, halved
  • Olive oil
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry
  • 2 onions, sliced and caramelised
  • 1/2 bunch of basil, chopped
  • 175gm cheese, grated or crumbled  (cheddar or fetta)
  • 4 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Black olives, to garnish
  1. Place the tomatoes in a tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 180 degrees for about 50 minutes. Add the garlic cloves about half way through. Once cooked, allow to cool and then blend until you have a chunky sauce.
  2. Line a pie dish with the puff pastry and add the caramelised onion.
  3. Mix the basil, cheese and eggs to the tomato sauce and pour into the pie dish. Layer the top with the sliced heirloom tomatoes.
  4. Bake at 180 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until the filling is firm. Garnish with black olives.
  5. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a green salad and a big glass of red!