It’s that time in Nebraska when garden tomatoes are ripening and backyard gardens are bursting at the seams. My parents recently gave me a few pounds of garden tomatoes in exchange for pet-sitting while they were in Europe. Only one recipe came to mind to honor this late summer harvest: Spanish Tomato Tart or Coca de Trempó.
As an apartment-dweller, one of the things I miss most is having a garden full of fresh produce at the ready for my every culinary whim. I like Farmers Markets as much as any millennial, but I prefer to spend my Saturday mornings sipping coffee. Fortunately, my mom is an avid gardener and is always happy to share the spoils of her hard work. In addition to tomatoes, she sent me home with zucchini, peppers, and a bag of fresh basil, thyme, parsley and sage.
Spanish Tomato Tart is a variation of a recipe from the Catacurian Cooking School, south of Barcelona. I’ve blogged before about my experience at the Catacurian. It was there I developed a taste for Priorat wine and learned the proper techniques for Paella Mixta, Spanish Tomato Bread, Suquet de Peix and Spanish Tortilla. Though my trip to Spain was a lifetime (and a marriage) ago, my appreciation for Spanish cuisine and culture will never diminish.
Coca de Trempó hails from the Balearic Islands, an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Trempó, a vegetable salad made with fresh tomatoes, peppers and onion, is a summer favorite. Coca is a Mallorcan variation of pizza, made without cheese. When this summery salad and flatbread are combined, the result is Coca de Trempó, a stunning vegetarian dish of tomatoes, peppers, onion and fresh herbs accented with smoky pimentón and olive oil.
The base of this dish is a simple pastry crust of butter, flour, salt and water. Initially, I tried an all olive oil crust, but found it too difficult to work with. The all-butter crust, which I recently used in my Blueberry Pie with Vanilla Crumble, is easy to make in a food processor. The pastry’s buttery flavor and flaky texture accentuate the simplicity of the sweet and smoky Trempó.
While the pastry dough rested, I made the Trempó, mixing chopped fresh tomatoes with red and green bell peppers, onion, garlic, olive oil, spicy pimentón, and chopped fresh parsley and thyme.
Pimentón or smoked Spanish paprika is a dry spice made from roasted red chiles, and is a staple of Spanish cuisine. It’s protected and labeled by Denominations of Origen. Find Pimentón at TJ Maxx, World Market, your local grocery store or online.
To make Spanish Tomato Tart, it’s as simple as rolling out the dough, draining the trempó (save the liquid for a cocktail) and spreading it over the crust. After 45 minutes of baking, the vegetables were deliciously soft and the crust was a beautiful golden brown.
With smoky garden vegetables, fruity olive oil and a flaky crust, Spanish Tomato Tart is an elegant vegetarian main dish or appetizer for a summer gathering or dinner party. It can be eaten warm, at room temperature or cold. Pair this dish with your favorite Spanish red or white, or for a more festive touch, a glass of sparkling Spanish cava.
- 1¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ teaspoon of Kosher or Sea Salt
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of Butter, chilled and diced
- 3 to 5 tablespoons of ice water
- 1 pound fresh tomatoes, diced into small pieces
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 small green pepper, diced
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2-3 teaspoons of pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika)
- 3-4 tablespoons of mixed fresh herbs (parsley, thyme and chives recommended)
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
- Prepare the dough by adding the flour and salt to a food processor. Pulse for 10 seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add a tablespoon of ice water and pulse to combine. Continue adding water by the tablespoon until dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the side of the food processor.
- Dump onto a lightly-floured surface and pat into a round disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- While the dough rests, prepare the tomato mixture. Chop the tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic in a small dice. Mix in a bowl and season with pimenton, olive oil, salt and pepper. Allow to sit while you roll out the dough.
- Roll out the dough into a rectangle or oblong shape (to fill the baking sheet). Prick with the tines of a fork.
- Drain the tomato mixture and spread evenly over the dough.
- Bake until the crust is golden and the tomato mixture has melted into the dough, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm, at room temperature or cold.
If you love Spanish food, check out my other recipes:
- Spanish Burgers with Crispy Serrano and Fried Eggs
- Spanish Tortilla
- Traditional Gazpacho
- Catalan Rabbit with Onions
- Catalan Fish Stew