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I first had tomato tartare at a restaurant a while ago, and I wasn’t sure what to think. It was at a vegetarian restaurant, so it wasn’t meat. But when I think of “tartare” I think of steak. So what?
Turns out, it’s definitely not meat. It’s tomatoes that are cooked low and slow until they are jammy, and seem strangely similar to steak tartare. I ate steak tartare when I was in culinary school. Yes, that was long ago, but this still could have passed for steak. Vegetables are weird.
This is easy to make, but if you’re making it for a party or something, you definitely need to factor in prep time. And I do recommend making it for a party. What else do you need besides a super savory, interesting spread on toast?
It takes so long because it’s the slowness that gives you that jammy, concentrated texture. You’ll halve your tomatoes, drizzle with some avocado or olive oil, and then bake them for several hours in a low oven. It could also benefit strongly from sitting in the fridge for few hours before serving. But definitely serve it at room temperature. Not hard, but definitely takes a bit of forethought.
For the tomatoes, I used 8 Roma tomatoes and ended up with a tiny dish of tartare. So if you are serving this for a group, you’ll need a lot of tomatoes. I’d say you want at least 2 pounds of tomatoes for 4 people. So good for a small group, but maybe not a huge party.
Once you’ve cooked your tomatoes, your next step is to chop and mix them with the remaining ingredients. Chill until you’re ready to serve, and then get your bread ready. A loaf of good crusty bread is ideal here, nothing sweet. A baguette works beautifully, but any type of Italian bread will work too.
For an easy and unique appetizer, this tomato tartare is perfect on a good crusty bread.
Preheat your oven to as low as it will go, around 200 degrees.
Lay the tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and sugar.
Bake for 1 hour, remove and flip the tomatoes. Continue baking for at least one more hour, until the water has been removed and the tomatoes have shrunken considerably. They should have a dried consistency. If they are still wet, continue baking until they are jammy. This could take another hour depending on how much water your tomatoes contained before starting.
When the tomatoes are ready, remove from the oven and let cool.
Chop and combine with the remaining ingredients. Chill for several hours if you can, and remove when ready to serve, leaving time for the mixture to come to room temperature.
To serve, spread the mixture onto toasted bread, sprinkle with chives, and coarse salt.