Steak Diane

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“Considered a signature entrée at Manhattan’s beloved Drake Hotel, Steak Diane is widely attributed to Beniamino Schiavon, the Drake’s maître d’hôtel from 1942 to 1967. Though many assume the name references the Roman goddess of the hunt, The New York Times, in its 1968 obituary of Schiavon, described the titular Diane only as a “beauty of the 1920s.”

SAVEUR’s take on the steak upgrades the beef from the Drake’s original sirloin to tender filet mignon. A great idea in my opinion. The recipe list also includes fresh oyster or hen-of-the-wood mushrooms; many steak Diane recipes to not.

I can’t get “exotic” mushrooms at my local grocery store, and while shopping online I noticed that there were canned chanterelles available, so I thought I’d try them out. They’re certainly not like fresh ones, but it turned out that these would work in a pinch. If you ever try canned mushrooms, make sure to dry them well before using.

Notice I halved the recipe. Afterwards I wish I hadn’t!

Steak Diane
printable recipe below

Four 4-oz. filet mignon steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 1⁄2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 tsp.)
1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
4 oz. oyster or hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, torn into small pieces (about 2 cups)
1⁄4 cup cognac
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley

Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers, then add the steaks and cook, turning once, until evenly browned, 4–5 minutes for medium rare. Transfer to a plate to rest. (I always use a rack for this purpose.)

Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the stock. Cook, stirring to deglaze, until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds, about 10 minutes. Pour the demi-glace into a heatproof bowl and set aside. Prior to cooking, I reduced the

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted and the foam begins to subside, add the garlic and shallot, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften, release their liquid, and begin to brown, about 2 minutes more. Add the cognac, then carefully light with a long match or lighter to flambé, shaking gently until the flame dies down.

Stir in the reserved demi-glace along with the cream, Dijon, Worcestershire, and Tabasco. Return the reserved steaks to the skillet, lower the heat to simmer, and cook, turning to coat, until the sauce is thickened and the meat is warmed through, about 4 minutes. Because my steaks were so thick (thank you Lobel’s!) I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.

To serve, transfer the steaks to warmed serving plates; stir the chives and parsley into the sauce, and drizzle it over the steaks.

I served the steaks with steamed green beans. Perfection.

If you can’t “feel” the doneness of filet mignons, (I feel using tongs), make sure to use a thermometer to test the temperature internally. Rare is 125 degrees, medium-rare is 135 degrees. Ideally, let them rest on a rack, covered loosely with foil, after cooking.

 

 

Spiced Chicken Tart

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I used to have this thing about “little” cookbooks, like they weren’t worthy unless they were hefty and contained lots of photographs. Fortunately, I learned my lesson, because I have a few favorite little cookbooks now.

The one I’m referring to today is called Savory to Sweet Pies & Tarts, by Janice Murfitt, published in 1993.

Maybe a sign that it’s a significant, albeit little book, is the foreword by Albert Roux, of the famous Roux brothers.

In the foreword, he states that the author “provides new and unusual ways of adding flavor and interest to the basic pastries used, such as adding crushed nuts or citrus zest, and also presents a splendid array of fillings, both comfortingly traditional and classic with an intriguing twist.”

In this case, the tart I’m making appeals to me because of the curry flavors. It could be called a curried chicken quiche in puff pastry.

Spiced Chicken Tart
Slightly adapted

6 ounces frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 pound raw chicken breast, diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled, diced, and cooked
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon mango chutney, diced if necessary
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
Fresh cilantro (optional)

Roll out the dough thinly on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a rectangular tart or round pie pan. Flute the edges and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the pastry shell “blind” until lightly browned at the edges, 10-15 minutes. Lower the oven to 375 degrees.

While the shell is baking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook quickly for 3-4 minutes.

Stir in the spices, chicken, and cooked sweet potato. I browned the chicken first and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken cooks a little more. Then add the cilantro, lime zest, juice, salt, pepper and chutney. Remove from the heat.

Gently place the chicken mixture into the prepared crust. Beat together the cream and eggs and pour into the pastry shell.

Bake until the filling has set, 15-20 Minutes.

Serve hot or cold, garnished with chopped cilantro.

Sour cream would also be a lovely addition.

There’s something so special about this little tart. It’s a perfect combination of ingredients all put together in puff pastry.

 

Torta di Pomodoro

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During the summer, I was showing a friend the four tomato pies I have on my blog, after discussing tomatoes growing profusely in her garden. Lucky her! I shared my recipe for Mimi’s Tomato Pie, and my Rustic Tomato Galette, and Chef JP’s Tomato Pie. I guess I love tomato pies!

But the fourth blog post, for torta di pomodoro, was missing. I’ve deleted many posts from the “early years” because of bad photography, but typically I’ll save the text. Interestingly enough, I found the photos only. So here I am again making this fabulous pie. It’s a great problem to have!

I discovered this recipe in a wonderful cookbook called The Best of Bugialli, by Giuliano Bugialli, published in 1994.

The tomato pie, shown on the cover, quickly became a family favorite. And instead of using garden-ripe tomatoes, it’s made with a rich sauce from canned tomatoes, so it can be made year round.

Chef Bugialli has been a favorite Italian cookbook author of mine for a long time. He’s quite passionate about regional Italian cooking, and will scold Americans for indiscriminately putting cheese on pasta! (Guilty.)

Torta di Pomodoro

For the crust:
8 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) cold sweet butter
5 tablespoons cold water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

For the filling:
1 medium-sized celery stalk
1 carrot, scraped
1 medium-sized red onion, cleaned
1 small clove garlic, peeled
10 sprigs Italian parsley, leaves only
5 large fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 pounds drained canned tomatoes, preferably imported Italian (of course!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) sweet butter
3 extra large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-reggiano
Fresh basil leaves to serve

Sift the flour onto a board and arrange it in a mount. Cut the butter into pieces and place over the mound. Use a metal dough scraper to incorporate the butter into the flour, adding the water 1 tablespoon at a time and seasoning with the salt and nutmeg. When all the water is used up, a ball of dough should be formed. Place the ball in a dampened cotton dish towel and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.

(I followed the crust recipe, but used a food processor. I remember watching a Julia Child show when Martha Stewart made a pie crust in a food processor for her, and Julia was hooked! So I feel justified in doing this.)

To make the filling, coarsely chop the celery, carrot, onion, garlic, parsley and basil all together on a board. Place the canned tomatoes in a non-reactive casserole, then arrange all the prepared vegetables over the tomatoes.

Pour the olive oil on top. Cover the casserole, set it over medium heat and cook for about 1 hour, without stirring, shaking the casserole often to be sure the tomatoes do not stick to the bottom.

Pass the contents of the casserole through a food mill, using the disc with the smallest holes, into a second casserole. Add the butter and season with salt and pepper.

Place the casserole over medium heat and let the mixture reduce for 15 minutes more, or until a rather thick sauce forms. (Seriously, it can’t be watery.)

Transfer the sauce to a crockery or glass bowl and let cool completely.

Butter a 9 1/2” tart pan with a removable bottom.

Flour a pastry board. Unwrap the pastry and knead it for about 30 seconds on the board, then use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to a 14” disc. Roll up the disc on the rolling pin and unroll it over the buttered pan. Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cut off the dough around the rim of the pan by moving the rolling pin over it.

Using a fork, make several punctures in the pastry to keep it from puffing up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the pastry, then put pie weights in the pan. Refrigerate the pastry for 1/2 hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the tart pan in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and lift out the foil and weights. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the crust is golden, about 10 minutes.

Add the eggs and Parmigiano-reggiano to the cooled tomato sauce. Taste for salt and pepper and mix very well with a wooden spoon.

Remove the tart pan from the oven after the last 10 minutes, leaving the oven on. Let the crust cool for 15 minutes, then pour in the prepared filling.

Bake the tart 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 325 and bake for 15 minutes. In the past I’ve also let the pie sit in the turned-off oven for 10-15 minutes. The filling should not be jiggly.

Remove the pan from the oven and let the tart cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Slice the tart like a pie and serve it with the fresh basil leaves.

If I was serving this for company, it would be accompanied by a green salad.

But it was just for us!

by the way, this pie dough recipe is fantastic, and made a seriously flaky crust, although it shrunk, and I’d let it rest.

Sausage, Salami and Cheese Tart

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I’ve had this recipe quite a while. I recognize it from Bon Appetit, which was my favorite food magazine. The cut-and-paste method was my way to save recipes. Until computers, of course.


As you can see, I thought the recipe was very good, but I needed to add onions and garlic to the tart next time. That time never came until now; I decided to substitute mozzarella with fontina, and make a couple of minor adaptations.

Sausage, Salami and Cheese Tart
Printable recipe below

1 refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 ounces Italian sweet sausages, casings removed
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
5 ounces finely chopped Fontina
3 ounces diced Italian salami, such as Genoa
4 ounces grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2/3 cup cream
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Unfold crust on work surface. Press together any cracks in dough to seal crust. Place crust in 9” diameter tart pan with removable bottom; fold in excess dough and press, forming double-thick sides that extend about 1/4” above rim of pan.

I used a 10” deep-dish pie pan. From all of the comments on this recipe online, the egg and cream mixture overflowed, so I wanted to avoid that mess. Plus I chilled the crust first.

Pierce crust with fork. Bake crust 5 minutes; press with back of fork if crust bubbles up. Continue to bake until crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté the sausage with the onions and garlic pepper. Break up the sausage so that there aren’t any large pieces. Lower the heat if necessary; you don’t want much browning.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage and onion to a bowl and allow to cool. Add the fontina, salami, Parmesan, and basil to the sausage mixture. Toss gently to combine. Then gently place in the prepared crust.

Beat eggs, cream, nutmeg and white pepper together to blend, then pour the custard over the sausage and cheese mixture in crust. I was so smart and made the pie pan larger so all of the egg and cream mixture would fit and not leak, but I was using my left hand for my “pouring” shot, which already isn’t coordinated, but with the help of recent surgery… a significant amount was poured in between the pie pan and crust. See it?!!

Bake tart until filling is set in the center and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Let cool 10 minutes and serve. Fortunately, despite the leakage, the pie sliced well.

Depending when you make this tart, serve with a tomato salad, or a simple green salad.


Or an arugula and tomato salad!

If you don’t have any fresh basil on hand, you can thin some basil pesto with olive oil and drizzle it over the baked tart or on the serving plates.

 

 

Smoked Salmon and Tomato Quiche

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I follow an Instagram account called Stephen Cooks French, all one word, of course, which always messes with my brain. A recent photo of his that he posted was a tarte au saumon fumé, or a smoked salmon tart, pictured here.

According to Stephen, the crust is puff pastry, topped with a seasoned fromage blanc with chives, baked, cooled, then smoked salmon is layered on top.

Loving all things salmon, I immediately searched for recipes. There were many similar, but the one that jumped out to me was a smoked salmon quiche with tomatoes.

What I like about this recipe is that it isn’t too quiche-y, so the tomatoes and smoked salmon really shine. The cheese element is crème fraiche, which is perfect because it’s not salty.

One day I will make the tarte au saumon fumé, and serve it as a first course. Or as Stephen, whoever the heck he is, suggested, cut it into squares and serve as an hors d’oeuvre.

Smoked Salmon and Tomato Quiche

1 pie crust for 9 1/2” pie pan, not deep-dish
Smoked salmon, about 5 ounces, cut up
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
8 ounces crème fraiche
5 or so small-medium ripe tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Chopped chives, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the pie crust in the pie pan and keep chilled in the refrigerator.

Cut up the smoked salmon in small pieces and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, and crème fraiche.

Slice the tomatoes evenly and use the most uniform slices only, not the ends. Lay on paper towels to dry for at least 15 minutes, also laying paper towels on top.

When ready to prepare the quiche, place the smoked salmon inside the pie crust.

Give the egg-crème fraiche mixture a whisk and pour over the top gently.

Then top the quiche with the tomato slices, and season them with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325 degrees and cook for ten more minutes.

Let the quiche set for at least 15 minutes, then slice and serve.

This quiche was fantastic. The smoked salmon cooked slightly but no too much to alter its lox texture.

And the creme fraiche was perfect with the salmon and seasoned tomatoes.

Chef JP’s Tomato Pie

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A while back I did a post on my favorite green beans. Yes, that’s what I called the post. It’s green beans with shallots, onions, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and toasted pine nuts, and it’s an exquisite dish. There are so many different ways to prepare green beans, and I’ll try more, but I’ve concluded that this way is my favorite way.

The recipe came from cookbook Sunshine Cuisine, published in 1994, and authored by Chef Jean-Pierre Brehier, who moved from France to Florida and basically fused French and Floridian cuisine, served in his restaurant The Left Bank. I didn’t realize that Sunshine Cuisine had been a James Beard nominated book, and since then he’s written two more cookbooks.

The reason I bring all of this up, is that in my green bean post, I’d lamented the fact that the chef basically disappeared. And he had, temporarily, but thanks to a recent comment on that post, (July, 2020) I was able to find the chef on his YouTube channel, plus it appears he still has his cooking school and website! He’s pictured in the above right photo. Older, but still alive and kicking! You can read his bio on his website here.

And boy is he entertaining! Chef Jean-Pierre Brehier is definitely French, but he sounds like he’s from the Bronx, with a touch of Louisiana Patois! And he kind of yells, in a passionate way. “If you use crap ingredients, you gonna get crap food!”

The first YouTube video I watched was his most recent, making a tomato pie. The tomato slices were layered with breadcrumbs, Havarti, caramelized onions, and pie crust, cooked in a skillet, then turned upside down at the end, during which time he was making the sign of a cross multiple times. Funny guy.

These are photos from the YouTube video:

In the same video he spent about five minutes griping about how he went to 3 stores, and couldn’t find good fresh tomatoes! And his video was posted on July 16th, 2020. “New Jersey tomatoes are the best. But tomatoes in Florida? The worst.” Then he adds that New Jersey tomatoes are probably good because of all the mobsters in the ground, adding that Italian flavor to produce!!! You seriously should watch him.

Chef JP’s Tomato Pie

1 tablespoon sweet Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
6 large Tomatoes cut into slice ¼ inch thick
1 ½ cup fresh Bread Crumbs, mixed with garlic, parsley and fresh thyme
8 slices Mozzarella or Havarti Cheese
1 ½ cup Caramelized Onions
1 prepared Dough
4 ounces Goat Cheese (Frozen for 2 hours)
2 tablespoons Pesto fairly liquid

Preheat Oven to 400°.

Melt butter and the oil in a 10 inch oven proof skillet; add the tomatoes slices evenly to cover the entire surface. Core the tomatoes first.

Top the tomatoes with the fresh bread crumbs.

Then cover with the sliced cheese.

Then top with the caramelized onion.

Finally cover the entire pan with the prepared dough, tucking dough edges against the side of the skillet.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the dough is golden brown.

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Place a large plate over the pan and invert the tart onto the platter.

Grate the frozen goat cheese.

I didn’t do this part. I wanted to taste the Havarti more. He did also add finely chopped parsley to the top, and I should have done that to make it prettier.

Let the pie rest until warm and serve.

Chef JP did a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on the plate before slicing a piece of pie, and also added a drizzle of pesto mixed with olive oil.

The results were amazing. I also didn’t put a yellow tomato in the middle, I opted for red.

When you cut into the pie you can see the caramelized onions above the crust, the Havarti layer topped with the fresh breadcrumbs, and the tomatoes.

I will definitely be making this pie again next summer.

Walnut Cream Gnocchi

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Years ago my husband and I vacationed in Italy, visiting Lake Como, Venice, Verona, the Dolomites, Varenna, Cinque Terre, Florence, Umbria, Siena, and Rome, plus delightful villages in between. One day we had lunch in the beautiful and historically fascinating city of Siena. I remember it like it was yesterday – not only the city but also my lunch.


We had walked away from the touristy part of town, and discovered a restaurant-filled alley. We checked out posted menus, and finally just picked one eeny-meeny-miney-mo style. Honestly all of the restaurants had fabulous menus.

I ordered gnocchi with a walnut cream sauce, which could definitely be my last meal on earth if I had a choice in the matter. The gnocchi were bite-sized pillows – just what you’d expect in Tuscany. But the walnut cream sauce was heavenly.

I took before and after photos of my lunch, and fortunately, have never deleted them from my computer. They’ve been a constant reminder to try and duplicate the sauce. And yes, I left one gnocchi just to not feel piggy! But seriously, look at that serving?!

Once home, I pondered the different ways you can make a walnut cream sauce. It really depends how thick or thin you want it; one of my options was to make a walnut bechamel, but I chose to make a somewhat thinner sauce.

To keep it simple, I used gnocchi from the store. This is a fabulous product.

So here is my recipe for gnocchi in a simple walnut cream sauce, subtly infused with garlic. The prepared gnocchi can be served tossed in the sauce, with grated Parmesan passed around, or baked with the sauce and cheese first. Your choice!

Walnut Cream Sauce for Gnocchi
serves 2 or 4

6 ounces walnuts
12 ounces heavy cream or 1/2 & 1/2
4 ounces unsalted butter or olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
16 ounces gnocchi
Grated Parmesan

Toast the walnuts in a heavy skillet just until lightly browned. Let cool. I try to avoid the nut dust after toasting them.

Combine the walnuts and the cream in the blender jar. Process until smooth. You can see how thick the walnut cream becomes.

Turn on the oven to 400 degrees F if you’re going to bake the gnocchi. See * below. Prepare the gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and gently warm it in the butter for a few minutes. Add the walnut cream to the garlic butter and whisk until combined.

* Fold in the prepared gnocchi gently, making sure they are all coated with the cream. Add the salt and taste. Once heated through, place them in a serving dish.

At this point the gnocchi can be enjoyed as is, with grated Parmesan passed around. This is how I had it in Siena.

For the baked version, pour the walnut-cream covered gnocchi into a buttered baking dish, and generously top with Parmesan.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until there’s some bubbling and browning. The baking dish could alternatively be placed under the broiler for a few minutes prior to serving.

I have to add that this isn’t the prettiest sauce in the world. The walnuts make the cream a bit off in color, but it’s so good I’m not sure anyone would care.

I also think some panko bread crumbs could be used on top for a little crunch, but next time…

Since creating this recipe, I’ve repeated it for company using 3 pounds of gnocchi, and for the sauce used 16 ounces of walnuts and 1 quart (32 ounces) of cream. It worked out perfectly, so I don’t think the nut-to-cream ratio is that critical.

This recipe is so good, and I’m stating that even though I “created“ it. Duplicating delicious meals, especially from traveling, is always fun.

Both versions, the baked and non-baked are fabulous. If you want to taste most closely what I had in Siena, don’t bake the gnocchi!

Tartiflette

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Tartifllette

Years ago our family was travelling through Eastern France, and we stopped in the beautiful town of Annecy for lunch and a stroll. We were in Annecy-le-Vieux, the old part of town and we randomly chose a restaurant at which to have lunch. Our restaurant was one of the ones on the right side of the canal in the photo below. The canal encircles the ancient prison.

the-palais-de-lile-on-the-thiou-canal-annecy

We sat outside, the sun was out, it was about 70 degrees – we didn’t think it could get much better than this. But we were wrong.

My husband and I chose the local specialty Tartiflette for lunch. Tartiflette is a potato dish baked with a cheese called Reblochon, one of the cheeses of the Savoie province of France which we were in. The Tartiflette was extremely memorable, but Reblochon is now one of my favorite all-time stinky French cheeses.

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Reblochon is a cows’ milk cheese with a washed rind. It smells like, well, you’re in a cow paddy. But cheeses never taste as bad as they smell, do they?

Within the rind, Reblochon is a rich, velvet-like cheese that is perfect as is, served with my bread for cheese, or baked into tarts, or with potatoes, like this Tartiflette recipe.

When we got back to the states, I was so thrilled to discover that I could order Reblochon from fromages.com. Fromages.com has a recipe for Tartiflette, as well as an interesting history on Reblochon. (I learned that it’s actually made from a mix of milk from three different cow breeds!)

Then I happened upon a Tartiflette recipe in Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook. I have to quote him on what he states about Reblochon:

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Here’s more evidence that you can never have too much cheese, bacon, or starch.”

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So here’s the recipe from Mr. Bourdain’s cookbook:

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Tartiflette

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled (I use russet)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into small dice
3/4 cup white wine
salt and pepper
1 pound Reblochon cheese

EQUIPMENT
large pot
paring knife
strainer
large sauté pan
wooden spoon
round, ovenproof dish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the potatoes in the large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with the paring knife. Remove from the heat, drain, and let sit until they are cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into a small dice and set aside.

tartif-1-of-16

In the large sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat and add the onion. Cook over high heat for about 5 minutes, until golden brown, then add the bacon and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and wine and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

tartif-6-of-16

Remove the mixture from the heat and place half of it in the round, ovenproof dish. Spread half the Reblochon atop the potato mixture.

Cover this with the other half of the potato mixture. Top with the remainder of the cheese.

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Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot.

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As you can tell, I used four ramekins for the tartiflette.

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You can prepare the tartiflette as one large casserole, like this one I made last year, but I wouldn’t make it in a deep dish pan because the cheese to potato ratio is critical!

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Also, when searching online for how tartiflette is presented, because I find it challenging to photograph, I came across other ways to prepare tartiflette. You can place the whole wheel of cheese over the potatoes, or slice it horizontally first.

note: You can make Tartiflette with a different cheese, but please don’t. You’re missing the whole point. This dish really requires this stinky cheese, and you’ll be amazed at how smooth and mild Reblochon is with the potatoes. I personally love the rind, but my husband doesn’t, so I trimmed it.

photo from Annecy

Gougère Tart

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You’ve all probably heard of gougères – those fabulous bite-sized, savory choux puffs that are a Burgundian French classic.

The problem is, I’ve never been able to make these for a get-together of any kind at my house, or when I catered either, because they’re really only good just out of the oven. Similar to a soufflé, they will deflate, so they’re not as pretty, and even if they’re kept warm, the texture will change.

I present to you another gougères option, more easily served as a first course or even as part of a lunch; thin slices can be served as hors d’oeuvres as well.

This version utilizes the same dough and cheese, but it’s a whole tart, and not individual puffs. There’s no outside crust that dries out, and the inside stays nice and moist. The dough will deflate a little after the tart is out of the oven, but the tart itself maintains its integrity, so you can let it cool a little, slice and serve.

If you’ve never made a choux dough before, don’t worry. It’s not as involved as making something like a dough for croissants. All you need is a strong arm, in fact, because there is a lot of stirring involved. I’m pretty sure you can make the dough in a stand mixer, but I make it the old-fashioned way.

My husband actually remembers the last time I made this tart, which proves how memorable it is. And I hadn’t come across the recipe till recently. You can see by the stains how many times I used it. I’d love to credit the source, but I looked online and found nothing. I think it’s funny on the recipe card that I actually changed the ingredient amounts not just once, but twice. But there’s no mention of the pan I used. Since I wasn’t sure which column was the one to follow, I went with the numbers on the very left.

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As with classically-shaped gougères, the secret to this gougère tart is the cheese. Really good Gruyère – diced as well as grated for this tart.

Gougère Tart

3/4 cup whole milk
1/3 cup, or approximately 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon butter
1 cup white flour
4 eggs, at room temperature, broken into a small bowl
7 ounces diced Gruyère
2 1/2 ounces grated Gruyère
1 egg mixed with 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Turn the oven to 375 degrees.

Generously butter a 10″ tart pan; a pan with a removable bottom is not necessary.

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Have all of your ingredients on hand, and read the recipe through before you begin. Begin by melting the butter into the milk in a medium saucepan.

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Add the flour, and vigorously stir the mixture for about one minute over the lowest possible heat.

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It will look similar to a roux – kind of crumbly.

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Let the pan cool slightly, then beat in one egg at a time, beating vigorously. There should be no heat involved any more.

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By the time the second egg is added and incorporated, you can see the dough getting smoother.

When you add the fourth egg, don’t beat it in completely. Then add 2/3 of the diced Gruyère and stir to just combine.

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Plop the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth. Then coat the top with the egg wash.

Add the remaining diced cheese as well as the grated, and place the tart in the oven; I put my pan on a baking sheet for easier handling.

Bake for 35 minutes. You will see it rise in the oven as it puffs up.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. It should be set enough to slice easily after just about 5 minutes. The tart is cheesy, but it’s also bready.

I enjoyed my slice without even a green salad on the side. Mostly because I couldn’t wait. But it would be fabulous with a salad of tomatoes or spring greens, and it would certainly be delicious served as a first course, just a matter of minutes out of the oven.

This gougère tart would pair perfectly with a light fruity red, or a pinot grigio. No white that is too tart or too oaky.