6/15/2006

You Say "Tomato"; I Say "La Tomate"

I got the latest Penzey’s catalog today. They’re a mail order spice and herb company with what must be very Mid-Western roots. I place orders from them from time to time, unless I run out of something and need it right away. Now they’ve opened up a shop in the food mall at Grand Central Station, so I’ll be able to save on shipping fees.

I thumbed through the catalog anyway because I’m always entranced by the food photography. They offer recipes that use a good portion of their product and the photos that reveal the desired result are shockingly bright. They’re old school, like the photos that illustrate Betty Crocker cookbooks or 1001 Quick Meals Using Campbell’s Soup. You can almost feel the warmth of the wattage used to light the food.

All of a sudden a bunch of bright shiny tomatoes caught my eye, and there it was: La Tarte! Penzey’s was suggesting that we should all make fresh Tomato Tarts this summer. They put the Penzey’s spin on the recipe by calling for Shallot Salt (a new product of theirs) and suggest that you could use either dried or fresh basil (as if!).

The part that truly surprised me, and made The Husband jump, was their suggestion to spread a full 2 T of Dijon mustard on the bottom layer. Regular readers will know the problems that can come from that kind of advice. They leave out the cheese too, which I think is a mistake. The Gruyere adds a nuttiness that balances out the tangy mustard and the sweet tomatoes.

It’s a strange to see something that has seemed so quixotic and unattainable in boldface in a catalog. Everyone will be making Tomato Tarts now, and I wish them luck.

3 comments:

Alcuin Bramerton said...

Perhaps it is the colour of tomatoes which nourishes us, rather than the organic nutrient content.

Night people are hungry for colour.

SF Mom of One said...

Well if squash are cute (like I said yesterday) then tomatoes are sexy.

Do you grill those too? (as an alternative to Trouble Tart?)

Deb St-Claire said...

Tomatoes can be inspiring. I've put beefsteak halves on the grill, but I prefer the way my father-in-law roasts them in the oven. He also serves really great tomatoes raw with some olive oil and crumbled bleu cheese. Heavenly!