Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cherry Tomato Clafouti

I’d really appreciate it if you’d allow me another summer vegetable recipe. Yes, it’s October and summer is over, but I really don’t want to be the one to break that news to my cherry tomato plants. The days are still long enough and warm enough for them to ripen, and they’re continuing to produce delicious, juicy, sweet jewels.

I’m pretty sure I cut and pasted this recipe from the blog Baking Bites two years ago. I try not to hold it against myself that I just got around to trying it now. Don’t be scared by its weird name. A clafouti is really just a cake-y custard, or perhaps a custardy cake. Traditionally, a clafouti is a dessert (like this one with cherries), but this is a savory version, and it’s just as delicious.

I used a 10-inch, well-seasoned cast iron skillet for this recipe, which worked marvelously, but you could use something else of similar size. The resulting savory clafouti turned out quite a bit like a frittata, but I must share this secret: this is even easier than frittata! And frittata is really pretty darn easy! The egg and flour mixture is not only simple to mix together, but seems to be quite forgiving in performance. It puffs up in the oven, then sinks a bit when it cools, but there’s enough flour and baking powder to keep it from flopping it into a mess of weeping eggs.

This savory custard-cake is well flavored with plenty of fresh basil and feta cheese and generously studded with pockets of slumped cherry tomatoes. Since I was using plenty of salty feta, I kept the additional salt quantity small. I think it could have used just a smidge more salt, but I left exactly what I did in the recipe below and recommend salting to your own taste. Of course, you could use a different kind of cheese as well, such as goat cheese or cottage cheese. Then you could adjust the salt accordingly, depending on how salty (or not) your cheese is.

I knew, more or less, what to expect from this kind of batter, but I was really pleasantly surprised by how good this dish tasted. I can’t believe I waited so long to try it. Who knows how many more ripe tomatoes I’ll have this season? But a few more handfuls will be a good excuse to make this again. The weather forecast indicates, however, that there may be too few days of good tomato-ripening weather left. I better start collecting green tomato recipes!


Savory Cherry Tomato Clafoutis
Adapted from the blog Baking Bites

The amount of added salt in this recipe is on the low side. You could add a pinch more if you find egg dishes to be bland.

about 30 small cherry tomatoes (I used Sungold variety)
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 large eggs

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
1/3 cup feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Butter a 10-inch cast iron skillet. (You could probably use a cake or pie pan instead.) Arrange the cherry tomatoes evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk together to combine well. Whisk in the eggs and milk until smooth. (There should be no lumps of flour.) Stir in the basil and feta cheese.

3. Pour the flour and egg mixture over the cherry tomatoes in the pan. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 F. Continue baking 25-30 minutes more or until lightly browned. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Let stand for about 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 4-6 serving. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated for a day or two.

Other recipes like this one: Cherry Clafouti (sweet), Zucchini Frittata with Tomatoes on Top, Potato and Bacon Frittata

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