Showing posts with label shallots. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shallots. Show all posts

Friday, July 31, 2015

Cheese Shallot Potato Pie #FridayPieDay

Modeled on a Lancashire cheese and onion pie, this Cheese Shallot Potato Pie has a decidedly French accent with the substitution of Cantal for the Lancashire cheese and shallots for the onions. I sliced in some waxy potatoes to make the pie a little heartier and added cheese to the shortcrust for even more flavor, both good decisions.

Last week I was staying with dear friends in the Lot-et-Garonne region of France. Daily trips to the markets were de rigueur as was a bunch of cooking and baking in their gorgeous big kitchen. Boy, did we eat well! The first night we arrived, there was a special meal of confit de canard accompanied by golden crispy potatoes roasted in duck fat. 

The next evening it was a vivid paella with chorizo, merguez, chicken and prawns. Yet another dinner boasted a festival of sausages (lamb, duck, horse, horse, pig, pig and pig – of different styles and spices) with lentil salad and a Champagne tasting.

Of particular note, on the last night, we finished with Caroline’s Nectarine Crumble, a baked delight of sweet nectarines lavished with rum, topped with crispy crumble and served with ridiculously thick Normandy cream.

Lunches were myriad cheeses, fresh bread, fabulous salads, the most amazing summer tomatoes and fruit. And, because I had thumbed my way through The Good Cook* by Simon Hopkinson, two tarts. The first one, this one, was named My Mother’s Lancashire Onion Pie so I should properly call this Not Simon Hopkinson’s Mother’s Lancashire Onion Pie. But I thank him kindly for the inspiration. 

The second one already started out with a French bent - Roquefort cheese and leeks – to which I added some thinly sliced cauliflower. You can find that recipe here: Cauliflower Leek Roquefort Tart.  

Cheese Shallot Potato Pie

This recipe is adapted from one in Simon Hopkinson's The Good Cook. See links above. The friends I was staying with owned it but there were so many great recipes that I do now as well. Highly recommend! 

For the pastry crust:
2 1/2 cups or 315g self-rising flour  (or the same amount of all-purpose flour with 3 teaspoons of baking powder added)
3 1/2 oz or 100g strong semi-hard cheese, grated (I used Cantal Entre Deux.)
3⁄4 cup or 140g unsalted butter, cold
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:
4-5 whole large shallots
2 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fine sea salt
Black pepper
12 1/3 oz or 350g strong semi-hard cheese, grated (See link above for my cheese of choice.)

First we’ll make the pastry for the crust and leave it to chill. Put flour, grated cheese and salt in a big bowl. Mix well.

Cut the cold butter in chunks and add to the flour/cheese mixture.

Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the flour. You are looking for a soft sandy crumble but you can leave some larger pieces.

Add cold water a tablespoon at a time, mixing well in between with the tines of a fork, until the dough just comes together. Tip it out on a clean work surface and press it together.

Knead briefly then cut the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap them both in cling film and refrigerate while you get on with the filling.

Peel and finely chop your shallots. Peel and finely slice your potatoes.

Add the butter and olive oil to skillet and sauté the shallots and potatoes for a few minutes. Add a small splash of water and cover the pan and simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked.  Season with a sprinkle of fine sea salt and a few good grinds of fresh black pepper.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and put a flat baking pan big enough to hold your pie plate in to preheat as well.

Cover your clean work surface with cling film and sprinkle lightly with flour.

Remove the larger piece of dough from the refrigerator and press it into a flat disk on your prepared work surface. Flour it lightly and cover it with another sheet of cling film. Use a rolling pin to roll the pastry into circle 1⁄8 inch thick and about 2 inches larger all around than your large pie plate.

Use the cling film base to lift the pastry circle and ease it into your pie plate, leaving the edges hanging off. Prick the pie crust with a fork all over the bottom and sides.

Add the grated filling cheese to the cooled skillet and gently mix it together with the shallots and potatoes, trying not to break the potatoes up.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and spread it around evenly.

Recover your work surface with cling film, sprinkle on some flour and repeat the process of rolling out the top crust.

Cover the filling with the top crust, fold any excess under with the bottom crust, and crimp the edges to hold them together. Cut three or four long slits in the top crust to let the steam out.

Bake in your preheated oven, on top of the flat pan, for about 50-55 minutes or until you see the filling bubbling up a little through the slits and the crust is lovely and golden.

Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting.


FridayPieDay is the brilliant invention of Heather from girlichef and I am pleased to join her on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration.

Today we’ve both gone savory. Follow this link to see her wonderful Zucchini and Tomato Pie.

For more information and recipes, please check out her #FridayPieDay page!

*Amazon affiliate link - If you buy the book by following my link, I earn a little small change from the sale, at no extra cost to you.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fresh Salmon Carpaccio

This lovely party platter of thinly sliced fresh salmon is something between ceviche and sashimi. The salmon is well dressed with lemon and fennel and shallots but still rather “uncooked” compared to full-on ceviche. The taste is fresh and light, perfect for a holiday buffet or dinner party starter.

It's all about balance.
This week my Sunday Supper group is anticipating the richness of the upcoming holiday season and bringing you some lighter dishes to offset the excess. Our host today is the lovely Kathia from Basic N Delicious. I adore smoked salmon so it’s a special treat during the holidays, but I know the salt content is ridiculously high. This fresh salmon carpaccio is a much healthier option and with the added bright flavors of fennel and shallot, I promise, you won’t miss the salt at all.

For the carpaccio:
About 1 1/2 lbs or 700g very fresh salmon, already skinned (The fish guy can do this for you.)
2 lemons (7 oz or 200g)
3 shallots (about 2 1/2 oz or 70g)
1 small bulb fennel with fronds (almost 4 oz or 110g)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 cup or 30ml extra-virgin olive oil

To serve:
1 tablespoon capers, drained and dried
Reserved fronds from fennel bulb
Optional: brown or soda bread

Adapted from this recipe on BBC Good Food.

Cut your salmon into three or four pieces and wrap it very tightly in cling film. Freeze for at least an hour to make slicing thinly easier. A very sharp knife is a must so this is a great time to sharpen yours.

While the salmon gets slightly frozen, we can make the dressing.

Cut the root end and the hard tops off the fennel bulb and discard them but keep the green fronds for decorating the salmon later, if desired. Slice the fennel bulb as thinly as possible.

Peel then do likewise with the shallots.

Zest and juice your lemons into a medium sized mixing bowl, discarding any seeds. Add in the salt, sugar and olive oil, then whisk to combine.

Marinate the sliced fennel and shallots in the dressing until the salmon is ready for slicing.

Add a little dressing with fennel and shallots into the bottom of a deep bowl.

Remove one piece of salmon at a time from the freezer so the others don’t thaw out while you slice.

Slice your salmon thinly and lay the pieces on top of the dressing.

Keep slicing and layering with a few drizzles of dressing, fennel and shallots until all of the salmon is sliced. Pour any remaining dressing over the top.

Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

After a few hours.

To serve, lay the salmon slices with fennel and shallots out in a single layer on a large platter. Scatter the salmon with the reserved chopped fennel fronds and capers.

The original recipe says to serve with brown or soda bread but I must confess that we sat outside and just ate it straight off the platter with small forks. It was superb.


Are you looking for some healthy recipes to balance out your holiday excesses? Check out all the great drinks, dishes and desserts we have for you this week!

Appetizers or starters
Main Dishes
Side Dishes

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.

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

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.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Beef Short Rib Bourguignon

Beef slow braised in red wine is a classic dish needing just a little hands-on work and then a lot of hands-free oven time, resulting in meat that falls off the bones and gravy that you’ll want to slurp up with a spoon.

This week my Sunday Supper family, along with our host, the fabulous Alice from Hip Foodie Mom, is bringing you recipes that require five ingredients or less. The powers that be decided that water, oil, salt and pepper would be “freebies” and don’t need to be included in our count, thank goodness! I decided to adapt a recipe for beef Bourguignon that normally has way more ingredients because I thought it would still be possible to make something rich and flavorful if I chose my ingredients with care and thought.

Each item had to add to the flavor spectrum and bring multiple hues to the finished dish. The beef must contain bones and a goodly helping of fatty meat to add rich beefiness so I chose short ribs over a leaner cut. The red wine would contribute tang and depth as well as help to tenderize the meat as it cooks. The bacon would be honey- or brown sugar-smoked, adding sweetness and smokiness to counterbalance the acidity of the wine. The wild mushrooms would add an earthy undertone to the finished dish which often includes fresh mushrooms. And finally, the shallots would bring sweetness and body to the broth and the braising beef ribs. Using shallots instead of normal onions also allowed me to set aside the smallest ones to add in near the end of the cooking time to mimic the pearl onions that are often included in traditional Bourguignon recipes. I would have dearly loved to add a sprinkle of chopped parsley right at the end, but that would be breaking the rules, and I must admit, I didn’t really miss it for flavor. The color just would have been pretty.

3 1/4 lbs or about 1.475kg beef short ribs
1/2 oz by weight or 14g dried assorted wild mushrooms (I used half the bag pictured.)
1.1 lbs or 500g shallots
5 slices - thick cut or 175g brown sugar or honey smoked bacon (or some other sweet smoked version – maple would probably work too.)
2 cups or 475ml full-bodied red wine
Sea salt – I use Maldon’s flakey salt.
Freshly ground black pepper

Season the short ribs on all sides with a good sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover with cling film and set aside.

Meanwhile, start prepping the rest of your items.

Put your dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and cover them with about a cup or 240ml boiling water. Set aside to soak.

Peel and slice your shallots very finely, setting aside all the little bitty ones and leaving them whole.

All the bottom ones were sliced, The little ones up top were saved for the last hour of cooking time.

Slice the bacon into small strips and panfry them until they are crispy, stirring often to make sure the pieces don’t burn.

Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and put in on a saucer.

Use the bacon grease to fry the short ribs, a few at a time, until they are browned and golden on both sides. Don’t crowd the pan or they’ll just steam instead of browning.

When all the meat is browned, pile the sliced shallots into the pan and cover it with a tightly fitting lid.

Preheat your oven to 275°F or 130°C.

Cook the shallots over a medium heat, lifting the cover and stirring occasionally to loosen all the lovely sticky bits off the bottom and sides of the pan.

Meanwhile, scoop the mushrooms out of their soaking water with a slotted spoon and chopping them up a little if the pieces are bigger than bite-sized.

Pour the mushroom water through a very fine mesh sieve, being careful to stop just before you get to the sediment at the bottom.

When the shallots are soft, add in the red wine and cook down until about half the liquid has evaporated away.

Now add the mushrooms and the strained mushroom soaking water. Stir well.

Nestle the ribs in the shallot-y, mushroom-y broth and top with the crispy bacon, making sure to add any juice that accumulated in the bottom of the rib or bacon plates. We can’t let any of that goodness go to waste.

Cover the meat with a piece of heavy-duty foil and then put on the cover.

Slow roast in your preheated oven and set a timer for two hours.

After two hours, take the pan out of the oven and tuck the reserved small shallots in the juice around the ribs.

Put the foil back on and replace the lid.  Cook for a further hour.

When the ribs are done, use a spoon to skim off as much of the oil as you can.  The gravy is fabulous just like this, or you can add a bit more water or wine to thin it. I added just a little water and stirred it around.

Serve this short rib Bourguignon with something capable of soaking up some of that lovely gravy. I highly recommend a mash of mixed root vegetables, yams, potatoes and parsnips. Or perhaps just a green vegetable and a crusty loaf of bread.


Do you need more “five ingredients or less” recipes to simplify your time in the kitchen? Look no farther than this list of wonderful links!

Appetizers, Salads and Starters

Chicken and Spring Greens Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette from Crazy Foodie Stunts
Fennel Citrus Salad from An Appealing Plan
Guacamole Deviled Eggs from Ruffles and Truffles
Kale-Had-a-Hard-Day Salad from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Latkes with Smoked Salmon and Caviar from Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Salmon and Cucumber “Noodle” Salad from girlichef
Tomato Soup from Run DMT
Tomato, Avocado, and Cucumber Summer Salad from My Healthy Eating Habits
Tuna, Burrata and Black Olive Salad from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Wasabi Cream Cheese Ham Salad from Neighborfood
Yogurt Dill Vegetable Dip from Melanie Makes

Side and Accompaniments

3-Ingredient Beer Bread from Take A Bite Out of Boca
Candied Apple Jelly from What Smells So Good?
Homemade Ricotta from Seduction in the Kitchen
Indian-style Roasted Cauliflower from kimchi MOM

Main Dishes
Baked Asparagus and Eggs from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
BBQ Foiled Chicken from Meal Diva
Beans and Egg Sandwich from Basic N Delicious
Beef Short Rib Bourguignon from Food Lust People Love
Chicken and Potato Bake with Meyer Lemons from Cravings of a Lunatic
Chicken Asparagus Roll-ups from The Dinner-Mom
Chicken with Olives from Noshing With The Nolands
Crock Pot Beer Chicken from Our Table for Seven
Easy Crock Pot Pulled Chicken from Flour On My Face
Garlic Butter Shrimp from Savvy Eats
Greek Chicken Burgers from Country Girl In The Village
Grilled Caprese Salad Sandwich from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Grilled Steak with Garlic Cumin Rub from Cooking Chat
Honey Almond Salmon from Family Foodie
Lemon Basil Carbonara from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Potato Pancakes (Reibekuchen) from The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Salmon with Tiger Dill Sauce from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas from Supper for a Steal
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast from Nosh My Way
Smothered Pork Chop Cups from Having Fun Saving
Spaghetti Squash with Simple Red Sauce from Momma’s Meals
Strawberry Red Wine Glazed Salmon from Cupcakes & Kale Chips

Dessert and Beverages

3-Ingredient Nutella Truffles from URBAN BAKES
4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cherry Chip Cookies from Ninja Baking
4-Ingredient Butterscotch Peanut Butter Marshmallow Sweets from Shockingly Delicious
5-Minute Strawberry Sherbet from The Wimpy Vegetarian
Baked Custard Cups from Soni’s Food
Best Ever Coconut Macaroons from Hip Foodie Mom
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Squares from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Chocolate Orange Ice Cream from Gluten Free Crumbley
Coconut Cream Mango Mousse from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
Coconut Crusted Chocolate Ganache Pie from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Flourless Chocolate Cake from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Golden Oreo Rice Krispies Treats from Pies and Plots
Orchid Panna Cotta from Manu’s Menu
Oreo Cookies and Cream Fudge from Alida’s Kitchen
Peanut Butter Buckeyes from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Raspberry Pina Colada Ice Cream from Try Anything Once Culinary
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bites from The Weekend Gourmet
The Ginger Sass Cocktail from Nik Snacks
Vanilla Bean Honey Ice Cream from The Foodie Army Wife
Vanilla Pudding from Magnolia Days