Here’s an elegant way to serve potatoes and tomatoes in a tart with with a crust that adds the flavor overtones of Parmesan and chili. “Tart” is, for me, a special word. It always seems to denote something special, something personal, something with a twist that will make me smile. This tart is exactly that lovely treat. There is a dash of richness from the creme fraiche, overtones from sea salt, and a chile hit.
This tart consists of a tomato base topped with potato slices. You can artfully arrange those slices in different patterns and perhaps top with some additional chili flakes or herbs.
This tart takes a bit of effort, but you’ll truly appreciate the results. It can be a side dish, but has the substance of a main course. Try this on a Sunday afternoon. Let the ballgames play out on television while you focus on something sure to be a success. [This blog was written by a New York Giants fan after three consecutive losses. I need, and deserve, serious comfort food.]
Chile Potato Tart
Yield: Makes 6 servings
- 1 ½ pounds ripe red plum tomatoes halved lengthwise and seeded [or cherry tomatoes]
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 large red chile
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt flakes
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pound waxy potatoes boiled in their skins for 15 minutes then peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 ¼ cups crème fraiche lightly whipped and seasoned with salt and pepper
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purposes flour
- Pinch of salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced,
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 red chile, seeded and very finely chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
To roast the tomatoes, lightly brush a baking tray with some of the olive oil and arrange the tomatoes cut side up. Add the garlic and whole chile and sprinkle with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle the salt and sugar evenly over the tomatoes and bake in the preheated oven.
Remove the garlic after 10-15 minutes when soft, and squeeze the flesh into a bowl. Remove the chile after 15-20 minutes when the skin is blistered and slightly charred. Leave the tomatoes for 45-50 minutes until very soft and slightly charred. Cool the chile a little, then peel, seed, chop finely, and add to the garlic. Scoop the tomato flesh into the bowl, discarding skins [with cherry tomatoes, simply mash the skins]. Mash the flesh. Season to taste.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan and chile, if using. Add enough cold water to make firm dough.
Roll out on a lightly floured surface and use to line a greased, 10-inch fluted art pan. Lightly prick the base with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes, then line with foil and baking beans. Heat a baking tray on the middle shelf of a preheated oven at. 400°. Put the tart shell on the tray, bake for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the oven and remove the foil and beans. Increase the oven heat to 450°.
Spread the tomato mixture evenly over the tart base, then over with concentric circles of potato slices. Pour the crème fraiche over the potato. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the top is golden.
Potatoes: From Mash To Fries by Annie Nichols
Tapas dishes can be simple yet delicious. Or they can be a bit complex and totally delicious. This is the latter. It’s a fabulous dish that will awe anyone who eats it. The prep time here includes peeling tomatoes, a necessary step to make sure that the texture of all the components is delightfully consistent.
This is an example of a dish that in France would be called a verrine: a “vertical” terrine. It’s layered with each layer independently contributing visually as well as to the palette.
I was very proud of this dish, just to look at it. Taste wise? It’s wonderful. On my personal scale of 1 to 10, this rates an 8 or 9. How to get to a 10? I think you can add flavor here. Some smoked peppers with the tomatoes or as a separate layer. Perhaps some onion. This dish, wonderful by itself, simply begs for you to tinker and enjoy.
The dill sauce here is almost a mayonnaise. It just lacks lemon juice or vinegar. If you prefer, a splash of sherry vinegar at the end makes it brighter and, I think, a better match for the smoked salmon. As for that salmon, I posted a few days ago the idea of smoking your own at home using a Cameron stovetop smoker. This recipe is the perfect example of how that handy device can make your home cooking 3 star class.
To accompany this, Brian and I had some sparkling Cava with a splash of pomegranate liquor. Elegantly sophisticated and very gratifying. If you make this dish, you’re going to want something to wash down your pride.
This recipe comes from The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega. Published last year, Book of Tapas is a treasure trove of delights like this one. You’ve had salmon with dill before, but never quite like this. I heartily recommend the book as source to inspire and please you.
Little Glasses of Salmon with Dill Sauce
Yield: Serves 6-8
Ingredients for the Dill Sauce:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon sweet mustard
- ¾ cup olive oil
Ingredients for the Tomato and Salmon Layers:
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 pound smoked salmon in one piece
- Freshly ground pink pepper
- 2 ounces salmon roe, drained
- 1 sprig dill for garnish
Preparation of the Dill Sauce:
Whisk the egg yolk in a bowl. Add the sugar, dill and mustard and continue whisking. Gradually whisk in the oil, little by little. Season to taste with salt and place in the refrigerator.
Preparation of the Layers and Construction:
Whisk the walnut oil and balsamic vinegar together in another bowl. Add the pink pepper and salt to taste and continue whisking until all the ingredients are amalgamated. Add the tomatoes and gently toss until they are well coated with the dressing. Divide the tomatoes between 6-8 glasses.
Cut the salmon into small cubes. Add a layer of salmon cubes to each glass and spoon the sauce over each glass. Top with a little salmon roes. Chill until required, then garnish with dill and serve.
As a variation, puree the salmon in a blender. Mix it with a little light cream, then make the salmon layer with this puree.
Source: Adapted from The Book of Tapas by Simone and Ines Ortega