I am moving to New York City in less than two months to start a culinary program at the French Culinary Institute. Moving to a new country definitely has its share of anxiety, but the prospect of being able to cook for over 5 hours a day and learn about the real tricks behind a good béarnaise or hollandaise sauce keeps me going. Although I don’t necessarily want to become a chef, the possibility of being able to work in an area that has to do with food, writing about food, photographing or styling food really appeals to me.
I am planning on posting about my culinary discoveries while in New York, and keep cooking (and practicing what I will have learned!) when I come back for week ends in Montreal. Until then, my scaled-down student kitchen will have to do!
I have been in a tart/pie mood lately. Maybe it’s the cold, or maybe just the endless possibilities of a round piece of dough... so I have been skimming my growing collection of cookbooks for ideas. The tart I made yesterday uses puff pastry, which has a buttery delicate taste and can be used for both sweet and savory dishes. Spread on top of the dough is a sweet shallot and balsamic compote, topped with goat cheese, emmental, tomato and basil.
Recipe (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
2 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil
8 thinly sliced shallots
4 large garlic cloves, cut intothin slivers
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons of white wine
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 package (17.3 ounces) puff pastry sheets, thawed overnight in the refrigerator. Use cold.
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 grated emmental
1/2 cup of crumbled creamy goat cheese
4 roma tomato, sliced
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the shallots and garlic. Sauté for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the shallot are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, balsamic vinegar and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
Unfold each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an to make individual-sized tarts.
Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, score a circle 1/2 inch inside the edge of each pastry. Prick the pastries all over with the tines of a fork and place them on the sheet pan. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of the grated Parmesan (staying inside the scored border)
Divide the shallot mixture between each tart, again staying within the scored edges. Crumble some of the goat cheese and emmental on top of the shallots. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Sprinkle with salt, and pepper. Brush the sides of each tart with the beaten egg mixture.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.