Showing posts with label anchovies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label anchovies. Show all posts

Friday, October 3, 2014

Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart

This Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart is savory tarte tatin made with caramelized shallots, anchovies and wine and puff pastry. It is an elegant main course or appetizer. 

Food Lust People Love: This Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart is savory tarte tatin made with caramelized shallots, anchovies and wine and puff pastry. It is an elegant main course or appetizer.
Sure, you could slow cook whole shallots until they are caramelized and sweet, add wine and anchovies for extra flavor and just eat them with a spoon, but why not bake them, topped with puff pastry tarte tartin style and make a meal of them?

Let the shallots shine
Technically speaking, the anchovies make this non-vegetarian so if you want to leave them out and add in a little salt, feel free. My goal was not to have a meat-free meal but to showcase the wonderful French shallots I can afford here from time to time. What I mean is, they are almost always available but sometimes the cost is so crazy that I can’t possibly justify it. But summer is shallot-harvesting season in France so the prices have dropped to a more reasonable level, even in Dubai. In fact, a 250g (almost 9 oz) bag of these beauties were on sale at my local supermarket for just a little more than one dollar last week. How could I not take advantage?

If you’ve never had the opportunity to cook with proper French shallots, do seek them out. Their flavor is robust, some might even say strong, but they are less sharp than their fellow alliums, like onions and garlic. They are beautifully sweet when caramelized and divine chopped finely in a vinaigrette dressing. I fell in love with them when we lived in Paris, along with skinny little green beans, stinky cheese, bargain-basement Côtes du Rhône and, especially, a certain little blue-eyed blond we named Cecilie. Oh, yes, Paris was good to us.

No shallots on hand?
Can you make this tart with normal onions? Of course, you can. I substitute them all the time when a recipe calls for shallots, but just cut the onions up into wedges and keep an eye on them as they caramelize. You don’t want them to burn.

I served this beautiful savory tart with a big casserole dish of baked zucchini topped with spicy tomatoes and crumbled feta. I’ll share that recipe on Sunday when our Sunday Supper group brings you fresh whole food recipes for the theme we are calling “unprocessed.” If you are trying to eliminate multisyllabic ingredients that sound like chemicals from your daily diet, you’ll want to check back this weekend.

Meanwhile, if you just caramelize the shallots and eat them with a spoon, you’ll get no judgment from me. Carry on.

Ingredients
1 lb 10 oz or 750g shallots
Olive oil
1/2 cup or 120ml wine – red or white as long as it’s dry
5 or 6 anchovy fillets
Black pepper
8 oz or 230g ready made butter puff pastry

Optional to serve: crème fraîche or sour cream

Method
Peel each shallot from the top.


Now, gently whittle off the roots with a sharp knife to keep the shallot whole.



In an ovenproof pan, drizzle a little olive oil and a little water and add the peeled, whole shallots. You want them to fit fairly snuggly because they will shrink a bit as they soften.



Slow cook them over a low flame with tight-fitting lid on for about an hour. Check on them every once in a while and add a few drops more water, if necessary. Shake the pan or push the shallots gently around to make sure they aren’t sticking but don’t break them apart. We want them to soften and caramelize, never burn.

After an hour or more of simmering, add your five or six anchovies, broken up into pieces and then the wine.



Add a generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.

Turn the fire up just a little bit and cook the shallots with lid off until the pan is almost dry.




Turn the oven on to preheat to 400°F or 200°C and take the pan off the stove.  Allow the shallots to cool for about 15 minutes while your oven preheats.


Unroll your puff pastry and cover pan with it.

Tuck the edges under all the way around the shallots.


Cut a few holes in the pastry to let the steam out.


Bake in your preheated oven until pastry is puffed and golden, about 15-20 minutes.



Allow to cool for about 10 minutes and then invert on serving dish.

Food Lust People Love: This Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart is savory tarte tatin made with caramelized shallots, anchovies and wine and puff pastry. It is an elegant main course or appetizer.


Serve each slice with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream, if desired. Although the cream is rich, somehow it complements the silky sweet shallots. I’m not even going to tell you because I’m sure you already know, but pour yourself a glass of wine as well.

Food Lust People Love: This Caramelized Shallot and Anchovy Puff Pastry Tart is savory tarte tatin made with caramelized shallots, anchovies and wine and puff pastry. It is an elegant main course or appetizer.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Caesar Dressing with Anchovies OR Capers


Among friends in Kuala Lumpur, my most requested dish to bring to a potluck is my Caesar salad.  I always made it just by pouring a little of this and a lot of that in a large measuring cup while not actually measuring.  But when folks started requesting the recipe, I had to take measure.  My original recipe calls for a small can of anchovies.  I would like to give credit for the caper substitution for vegetarians to my elder daughter’s roommate, Molly.  Molly is a creative cook as well as a talented artist.  Last year she spent a semester in Italy and I thoroughly enjoyed following her exploits and getting to know her through her sketchbook blog.  And I drooled over her Facebook photos of the rustic tarts she made for a potluck.  

Ingredients
2 tablespoons fresh or reconstituted lime or lemon juice (You can also use vinegar, in a pinch.  Desperate times have called for desperate measures.)
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup or 60 ml cold water (Cold helps the dressing emulsify.)
1 small (1.6 oz or 45g) can anchovies in olive oil OR two generous tablespoons drained tiny capers
1/4 teaspoon powdered English mustard (Colemans)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste  (You can add the salt after blending if you’d like.  Some anchovies and capers are saltier than others.  We don’t mind salty so I just go for it with a 1/4 teaspoon.  And add more after if necessary.)


Method
This is so easy.  Puree all the ingredients in a blender or with a hand blender until emulsified. 


Give it a quick taste and add more salt, if necessary.


If you are using capers, the resulting dressing may be a tiny bit more green.



This dressing is best served tossed with crisp romaine leaves which you then sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.  It will keep for a couple of weeks stored in the refrigerator in a closed jar.

Enjoy!