While I was in London for Food Blogger Connect 10, I picked up copies of Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty and Ottolenghi: The Cookbook at Waterstone’s. I wanted to purchase them for a while, but when it comes to cookbooks I really like to sit down and look at them before making a purchase and my local bookstore in DC didn’t have any copies of either. While at Waterstone’s I told myself that I was only looking and would not do anything crazy like carry heavy cookbooks in my already stuffed suitcase. Well, once I looked inside these books I knew I had to have them. The recipes are uncomplicated and use fresh ingredients. Needless to say I lugged them back with me in my suitcase!
I looked and looked at the beautiful pictures trying to decide which recipe to make first and finally settled for this one from Plenty. This is a multi-step recipe, but each step is simple. I was a little worried about it turning out of the mold, it unmolded beautifully. The flavors are a perfect balance of sweet and savory and the fresh oregano really compliments the potatoes and tomatoes. Next time maybe I will add a little toasted & crumbled Jamón Serrano in between the cheese and puff pastry. What I really like about this recipe is that you can get it ready 24 hours in advance, so if you want to serve it for brunch the next day you can leave it already assembled the night before and bake it right before serving.
Potato Tarte Tatin
• 200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes
• 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
• 500g (1lb 2oz) baby potatoes, skins on
• 1 large onion, thinly sliced
• 40g (1½oz) sugar
• 10g (½oz) butter
• 3 oregano sprigs
• 150g (5½oz) hard goat’s cheese, sliced
• 1 puff pastry sheet, rolled thinly
1. Pre-heat the oven to 120°C/250°F/gas mark ½. Halve the tomatoes and place them skin-side down on a baking-sheet. Drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven to dry for 45 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 25 minutes. Drain and let cool. Trim a bit off the top and bottom of each potato, then cut into 2cm (¾in) thick discs.
3. Sauté the onion with the oil and some salt for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
4. Once you’ve prepared all the vegetables, brush a 22cm (8½in) cake tin with oil and line the bottom with a circle of baking-parchment.
5. In a small pan cook the sugar and butter on a high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, to get a semi-dark caramel. Pour the caramel carefully into the cake tin and tilt it to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom.
6. Pick the oregano leaves, tear and scatter on the caramel. Lay the potato slices close together, cut-side down, on the bottom of the tin. Gently press the onion and tomatoes into the gaps and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread the slices of goat’s cheese evenly over the potatoes.
7. Cut a puff-pastry disc that is 3cm (1in) larger in diameter than the tin. Lay the pastry lid over the tart filling and gently tuck the edges down around the potatoes inside the tin.
(At this stage you can chill the tart for up to 24 hours.)
8. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400F/gas mark 6. Bake the tart for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is thoroughly cooked.
9. Remove from the oven and let settle for two minutes only. Hold an inverted plate firmly on top of the tin and carefully but briskly turn them over together, then lift off the tin. Serve the tart hot or warm.
Puff Pastry—You can always make puff pastry at home, but with a multi-step recipe like this one I’m happy to get a little help from pre-made puff pastry. I find that Dufour is best, but at half the price Pepperidge Farm is a happy compromise for this recipe where the puff pastry acts only as a vessel and most of the flavors will come from the potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cheese, oregano, and caramel. If you do get the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry don’t roll it out too much. It is already thin to begin with.
Hard Goat’s Cheese—I like Murcia from Spain, but goat milk Gouda would work equally well.