1 Sep 2012

Weekend Lunch… Tomato and Basil Tart, Pancetta and Creme Fraiche Tart and Green Salad

I have found a very quick and easy lunch menu that everyone likes…  I mentioned a few weeks ago how to caramelise and slow bake tomatoes ( recipe here) so once you have done that the rest is easy… I usually make two different tarts for this lunch menu … tomato with black tapenade and the other with pancetta and crème fraîche. If you cannot find crème fraîche substitute thick sour cream… Here’s how… and for me it’s all about the… Quick + Easy = Delicious

Tomato and Black Olive Tart

1 packet of ready made pastry… I like a puff pastry that is thin and flaky but a classic savoury works just as well
Olive tapenade to spread (or basil pesto is delicious as an alternative)
20 oven cooked tomatoes
Fresh basil
Pepper and salt
Roll out the pastry on to an oven tray that has been lined with cooking paper
Cover the pastry with black olive tapenade (one small pot is enough)
Arrange the tomatoes in circles on top of the tapenade
Bake in hot oven ( 180 degrees C) for about 20 minutes… checking mid way that the base is browning
Remove from oven and garnish generously with sprigs of fresh basil.

Pepper and salt to taste

Pancetta and Crème Fraîche Tart

I packet Ready made puff pastry
2 cups of finely chopped pancetta
200 g of crème fraîche or sour cream
Cook the pancetta until cooked through but not crunchy
Roll out the pastry on to an oven tray that has been lined with cooking paper
Drain any liquid off the cream and spread it onto the pastry making sure the cover is generous
Top the cream with the cooked pancetta
Bake in hot oven (180 degrees C) for 20 minutes… checking mid way that the base is browning

Add freshly ground pepper to taste

 These two tarts will serve 8 people when accompanied by a generous green salad…

The green salad is a staple in my menu… whether I offer it with a main course, independently or as an accompaniment to cheese. Sometimes I add all and everything to the mix but when I serve it with these tomato and pancetta tarts, I prefer a simple salad. There are a few secrets to a great green salad… the  leaves must be crisp. the dressing tangy and the serving bowl interesting. I have been using this large glass bowl (which I think is a vase) for my green salads… the mixed leaves look pretty, it is easy to toss and the bowl holds a good amount. I learnt how to make my dressing from the wife of our farm manager…  Christiane is one of the best cooks I know…. She told me that the trick is to let the salt and pepper dissolve into the balsamic vinaigrette before adding the olive oil. Her recipe is simple… but delicious..

Vinaigrette Dressing

Into the glass bowl add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste ( the quantity of salt is up to you but generous tastes best)
Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar… aged if possible
Mix the salt, pepper and vinegar together and let sit for 10 minutes
Pour in the olive oil ( about 4 tablespoons for a large salad)
Mix thoroughly

Just before serving add the mixed green leaves but do not toss…

 A great way to keep salad leaves crisp is to wash and pat dry then wrap them in a linen tea towel and place in the fridge. Lettuce and salad greens can be kept that way for several days…

I always present the salad at the table un-tossed and mix it once everyone is ready to eat… This way the salad stays crisp and fresh looking

Have a fabulous lunch this weekend… xv

Ideas for large salad ‘bowls’ here, here and here

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Anita Rivera

What a fabulous way to start off my morning my dear! Summer is still here and there is much room for crisp and fresh produce on my table before the hot soups start to take center stage! Anita


That Tomato and Tapenade Tart looks incredibly delicious. With a salad bowl, thats this Saturday’s lunch done! Thanks Vicki!

Angie Muresan

So beautiful, and yet so simple. I’m thinking this is certainly something I can make this weekend. Wishing you, my beautiful and fabulous friend, a weekend that is filled with happiness and relaxation.


Oh! Thank you Vicki, I am going to roast my tomatoes today, in fact, they will remain in the oven while I run out to have my car inspected before September first! I’m so glad you provided the link, and I love the tart recipes, I shall make them as well.

the salad greens look fresh and so inviting in the glass bowl.

I adore that silverware on your table, I have been searching for an old set with rounded handles like yours, full rounds, ever since I saw an antique pair of servers a few years ago.

Wishing a lovely weekend to you and all of us fellow readers and commentors!

Things That Inspire

For some reason everyone in my family really hates typical American lunch food, so we often have what my 9 year old (who has never been to Paris!) a ‘Paris lunch’ – a bit of fresh baguette, some fruit, and cheese, plus olives if we have them.

I will have to make this ‘French lunch’ for them!

– Holly

Amy Kortuem

The tomato tart sounds wonderful! I’m going to pick some of my Dad’s tomatoes tonight…I’m having a girls’ night at my house tomorrow…this recipe is meant to be!


Hi Vicki, This sounds divine. I had never thought of putting the dressing on the bottom, but it makes perfect sense. I’m definitely going to try the tart recipes. Have a wonderful week-end. It will be a long holiday week-end here; so I’m expecting lots of business. Fingers Crossed. Mary


We in the Southern Hemisphere are so looking forward to Summer and these recipes are already going to be my favourites. Thank you for sharing them.


If I wasn’t so busy packing for my trip to your Australia I’d be making the tomato and black olive tart right this minute – love that type of meal with plenty of salad.
I’m heading to The Kimberley next week….did you ever visit there Vicki? Will fly LA to Sydney, then across to Broome and sail from there to Darwin – an expedition adventure, and it will be very hot!!!

Happy weekend – Mary X


I have never been… I am envious, I think you will have an incredible time with the most spectacular scenery… xv


I quickly looked through my e/m before going shopping this morning. I liked the look of your salad bowl; and while shopping in KMart I saw one just the same as yours. Of course I bought it and why wouldn’t I atthe tiny price of $3.00.

mary jo

Wonderful recipe(s) Vicki! Thank you so much for sharing, I loved the little detail about making the salad dressing–I’ve always wondered how to make this simple dressing have the perfect tangy taste. I am hoping to practice this recipe this weekend and then make it for guests next week.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!
xo Mary Jo


I made this for a dinner party this weekend, topped with the tomatoes provencal (recipe that you had provided earlier this month). Not only was it super easy and fast, it was beautiful and very yummy! I’ll certainly be making it again very soon! Thanks for the fabulous-ness!


ok..so I’m busy reading your past blog entries..I should be making dinner. Loving these tart recipes. The puff pastry here is my new best friend. And we have been roasting tomatoes nightly!


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