Thursday, 26 April 2012

Tomato and Blue Cheese Tart with Rocket

Vegetarians....the word conjures up all kinds of emotions and opinions. We have a few in the family (my husbands side of course, ever heard of a vegetarian from the Karoo?) I don't know how my husband comes from the same family, as he considers any 'proper' meal to contain meat ... chicken passes as a vegetable! I saw an apron with this saying on it: 'Vegetarian is an old Red Indian word for bad hunter.' Maybe it should read 'bad hunter but good gardener' as my in-laws all seem to be expert gardeners. I love gardening but I'm not a vegetarian, but if I was this would be the type of food I'd like to eat. This recipe comes from Rick Stein's 'Food Heroes' recipe book. The book starts with a quote from legendary Irish cook Myrtle Allen, this book is about people producing 'common things uncommonly well.' This recipe is certainly not common and it is indeed uncommonly delicious. Even my husband agreed, I know, I almost fell off my chair in shock at his admission. I used baby plum tomatoes which makes the cooking time for the tomatoes much shorter than the original recipe and Rick Stein uses Blue Vinny cheese (Dorest farmers being the Food Heroes), but any good blue cheese will do.

So in preparation for the in-laws onslaught, this is the perfect lunch for the herbivorous.

750g baby plum tomatoes
450g puff pastry
100g blue cheese, thinly sliced
1 tsp thyme, leaves only
1 tbsp olive oil
handfuls rocket
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthways and place them cut-side up in a lightly oiled, shallow roasting tin. Season sea salt and black pepper and roast for 5 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 150°C and roast them for a further 20mins until they have shrivelled in size but are still slightly juicy in the centre. Remove and set aside.

Increase the oven temperature to 200°C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 30 x 37.5 cm 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.
Arrange the tomatoes haphazardly over the tart base, leaving a narrow border free around the edge. Crumble over the slices of blue cheese, 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.

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.

Serves 8.

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