Saturday mornings in London often involve me sitting bleary-eyed in front of Saturday Kitchen with a cup of tea. I enjoy Rick Stein’s travel segments the most because I always pick up an interesting tip from him. The most recent Rick Stein inspired addition to my repertoire was his oven-dried tomato and thyme tart which he designed around “British food hero” blue vinney cheese. Nope, I’d never heard of it either. It is a hard and crumbly blue cheese.
The method of cooking the tomatoes involves blasting them with a high heat for 15 minutes then reducing the temperature to 150C for 1 1/4 hours until they have shrivelled and the tomato flavour has become highly concentrated.
Obviously Rick’s recipe is not gluten-free. I like to use DS frozen shortcrust pastry which is available in the frozen free-from section at Sainsbury’s. It’s not puff pastry as the recipe calls for but it will do the trick.
I cooked this recently for my parents in Australia. I wasn’t able to procure blue vinney so substituted with an Australian hard blue cheese. Dad went back for seconds.
750g/1lb ripe vine-ripened or plum tomatoes
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
450g/1lb fresh puff pastry
100g/4oz blue vinney, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
handful of wild rocket leaves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1. Heat the oven to its highest setting.
2. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthways and place them cut-side up in a lightly oiled, shallow roasting tin. Sprinkle over
1½ teaspoons of salt and some black pepper and roast for 15 minutes.
3. Lower the oven temperature to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and roast them for a further 1¼-1½ hours until they have shrivelled in size but are still slightly juicy in the centre. Remove and set aside.
4. Increase the oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
5. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 30×37.5cm (12x15in) rectangle. Lift it onto a lightly greased
baking sheet, prick here and there with a fork and bake blind for 18-20 minutes until crisp and golden.
6. Remove from the oven, carefully turn it over and bake for a further five minutes.
7. Arrange the tomatoes haphazardly over the tart base, leaving a narrow border free around the edge.
8. Crumble over the slices of blue vinney, sprinkle over the thyme leaves and drizzle over the olive oil. Return the tart to the oven for 5-6 minutes until the cheese has melted.
9. Remove the tart from the oven and scatter the rocket over the top. Cut it into 8 pieces, sprinkle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Recipe from www.bbc.co.uk/food