Caramelised Garlic and Goat’s Cheese Tart

Caramelised Garlic Goats Cheese Tart

I recently posted a recipe for a fantastic quiche using fresh garlic. This was delicious but unfortunately the season for fresh garlic is pretty short. So, I was on the lookout for a similar recipe that I could make all year round. While perusing the Irish Times a few weeks ago, I came across this tart/quiche in Domini Kemp’s column. She presents a recipe adapted from one by Yotam Ottolenghi, which I, in turn, have adapted slightly to suit the flan dishes I had available. The results were great and I look forward to being able to enjoy this tart throughout the year. Ottolenghi’s recipe uses less balsamic, which I would do next time too, as it keeps the garlic more golden than dark.

This recipe is for a 20cm dish. Just double the quantities for 28cm. You can of course make your own puff pastry if you’re that way inclined but I used Jus-Rol. I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t use shortcrust, in which case there’s less excuse not to make it yourself!

There’s a little bit of work involved but you can do each stage separately; so don’t let that put you off trying this great dish.

Summary

Makes: 4 portions
Preparation: 10 mins + 20 mins
Cooking: 30 mins + 20 mins + 30 mins

Ingredients

250g
2-3 heads
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
200ml
1 tbsp
1 tbsp
120g
2
100g
Puff pastry (defrosted but still cold)
Garlic (cloves separated and peeled)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Water
Caster sugar
Chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, etc)
Goat’s cheese (mix hard and soft if you can)
Large eggs (the best you can get)
Crème fraîche
Salt
Pepper
.
20cm quiche dish about 3cm deep
Baking beans or similar

Method

First we need to make the pastry base, which can be be done ahead of time. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface so that it is big enough to line the base and sides of the quiche dish with a margin to allow for shrinkage. Prick the base all over with a fork. If you have time place in the fridge for 20 minutes of so. Trim the excess pastry. Line the pastry with greaseproof paper and pour in the baking beans. Use as many as will fit, as otherwise the base will rise. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the greaseproof paper and baking beans and continue to bake for a further 5 minutes to let the base crisp up. Set aside to cool. Don’t worry if the base has risen a little: you can carefully trim around the edge and press it down gently later.

When you’re ready to finish off the dish, set the oven to warm at 160°C. Put the olive oil in a small frying pan over a low heat and add the garlic cloves. Let them gently sweat for about 10 minutes. Move them around the pan to stop them colouring. Then add the sugar, balsamic and water. Increase the heat and let the mixture reduce. After about 10 minutes add the chopped herbs and season with a little salt and pepper. When the liquid has turned syrupy, the garlic should be soft and have a nice dark colour from the balsamic. In the meantime, dice the cheese and sprinkle over the pastry base. Crack the eggs and mix with the crème fraîche to form a sort of custard. Sprinkle the garlic cloves evenly over the cheese along with a little of the pan syrup. Move the dish to near the oven and pour in the eggs and crème fraîche. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the custard has set.

Let cool a little before serving, as this gives the flavour a chance to develop. Enjoy with a green salad.

New Season Garlic

Early summer gives us a chance to experience one of the kitchen’s stalwarts in its fresh form. Fresh or wet garlic can be found readily and allows dishes to made with lots of garlic taste, which at the same time don’t overpower everything else. There are many things you can do, but here are a couple that I tried this year. The first is a fantastic quiche and the second is a great marinade for a steak.

Fresh Garlic Saffron Tomato Quiche

Fresh Garlic, Saffron and Tomato Quiche

I found the recipe for this quiche in Simon Hopkinson’s fantastic The Vegetarian Option and have been eagerly waiting for chance to try it. It’s a slightly involved recipe, which can be carried out in two stages, but the results are great and I’d recommend that you try it. Don’t be tempted to make this dish with normal garlic as the taste will just be too strong.

Summary

Makes: 4 good portions
Preparation: 20mins + 5mins
Cooking: 30mins + 25mins + 40mins

Ingredients

.
.
100g
65g
1 pinch
1-2 tbsp
.
.
.
100g
200g
1 r.tsp
100ml
1 tsp
2
1
100ml
100ml
100g
30g
Pastry
.
Plain white flour (sieved)
Cold unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
Salt
Ice cold water
.
Filling
.
Fresh garlic cloves (peeled and trimmed)
Ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeded and chopped roughly)
Tomato puree
Milk
Saffron strands
Large eggs
Yolk of large egg
Fresh cream (double cream if you like)
Crème fraîche or sour cream
Light cream cheese
Freshly grated parmesan
Salt
Pepper

Method

First, make the pastry. This can be done ahead of time, in fact it needs to be done at least an hour ahead. Put the sieved flour, butter and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Tip into a large cold bowl and add just enough of the chilled water to bring the pastry together. Put into a plastic bag and transfer to the fridge for at least an hour. If you’re a dab hand at pastrymaking, you can do all this by hand, but it’s hard to keep the butter from getting too warm.

Next, we need to blanch the garlic to take the edge off the flavour. Place the cloves in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, drain. Repeat this twice. Then cover with cold water, add a little salt and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Drain and set aside.

In the meantime, heat the milk to just below boiling and switch off the heat. Add the saffron and leave to infuse.

Put the tomatoes and puree, lightly seasoned and with a tiny splash of olive oil, into a small frying pan over a very gentle heat. Let the moisture evaporate, stirring occasionally. You should be left with an almost jam-like texture after twenty minutes or so. Set aside.

After the pastry has cooled, roll it on a lightly floured surface until about 30cm in diameter. Gently line a 20cm quiche dish about 3cm deep. I found it easiest to use a non-stick tin with a pop-up bottom. Prick the base with a fork and trim any excess pastry. Line the pastry with tin foil and cover with baking beans (or chickpeas etc). Place into a 180°C preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. You could of course buy a prepared quiche base, but where’s the fun in that!

All of this can be done in advance.

When it’s time to cook, set the oven to 180°C. Put the eggs, egg yolk and garlic into a food processor and whizz until smooth. Add the cream, crème fraîche or sour cream, cream cheese and parmesan and mix again. Season lightly and stir in the saffron-infused milk.

Next, spread the tomato ‘jam’ over the pastry base. Pour the filling into the case and transfer to the oven. This can be a little unnerving, so it’s best to carry out this step as close to the oven as possible. Bake for a little over 30 minutes until set and the top is golden.

Leave to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, to let the flavour develop. Remove gently from the tin and transfer to a serving plate. Enjoy with a nice green salad.

Fresh Garlic and Rosemary Marinade

The previous recipe left me with about 10 juicy cloves of garlic. I decided to make a nice marinade for a couple of lovely rib-eye steaks I’d bought. First of all, I peeled and trimmed the garlic. I then gave them a very light coating of olive oil and put them in a small ovenproof dish and roasted the cloves in a low (150°C) oven for about half an hour until they were soft. These were then transferred to a mini food processor. I added enough olive oil to almost cover, along with the juice of half a lemon, the leaves from a 30cm length of rosemary branch and some freshly ground pepper. This was all whizzed together and then applied to the steaks. After marinading for an hour or so, the grilled steaks were just delish!

Shakskuka

Shakshuka

The classic combination of tomatoes and eggs can be found all over the world. This dish has a North African accent with the addition of cumin. Apparently it originates in Tunisa, but is common all across North Africa and in Israel, to where it was brought by Tunisian Jews. I’ve seen a very similar dish called Persian Eggs, so who knows where it really comes from. Who cares either, since it tastes so good.  It’s quick and easy to prepare, which makes it great for mid-week dinner. Try to use really ripe tomatoes: it makes all the difference. The flavours are great in the winter too but it’s very difficult to get hold of ripe tomatoes, so you can use good tinned tomatoes.

Summary

Makes: 4 portions
Preparation: 15mins
Cooking: 20mins

Ingredients

1kg
1
4
2
3 cloves
1 r.tsp
1
1 r.tsp
Tomatoes or 3 tins of whole plum tomatoes
Red pepper (optional)
Eggs
Onions
Garlic
Cumin (pre-ground is OK too)
Bird’s eye chilli (optional)
Sugar (depending on ripeness of tomatoes)
Salt
Pepper
Good olive oil
Flat-leaved parsley
.
25cm frying pan and lid

Method

Wash the tomatoes. Cut into quarters and scoop out the seeds, leaving just the flesh. Cut each quarter in half again. Half the onions and slice quite thinly. Slice the red pepper if using. Chop the garlic roughly and break up the bird’s eye chilli with the back of a knife.

If using tinned tomatoes don’t include all the juice as the dish will be too runny.

Cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil and place on a medium to low heat. When the oil is hot add the onions and chilli (if using), followed a couple of minutes later by the garlic and the red pepper if using. Fry gently, stirring occasionally, until the onion is just starting to colour. In the meantime, roast the cumin lightly, grind coarsely and add to the pan just as the onions are ready.

Add the tomatoes and a spoon of sugar. Adjust the seasoning. Mix a little to distribute the ingredients equally. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are soft but not mush. Make a small well near the edge of the pan and break the first egg into it. Repeat around the pan with the other eggs. Crack a little black pepper on each. Place the lid on the pan to help the eggs poach. After about 3 minutes the whites should be set and the yolks still runny, which is the way we like them.

Sprinke with some chopped parsely and serve straight from the pan with some crusty white bread to mop up the juices.

Tortilla

Tortilla

Tortilla, or Spanish omelette, is a staple in any decent tapas bar. The egg and potato mix flavoured with the sweet onions is one of my favourite foods. As so often, the simple things are best. There is a little bit of work involved but effort is worth it and the omelette can be kept for several days in the fridge, if you can resist the temptation to scoff it all in one sitting. Practically every Spaniard will have an opinion on how to make the perfect tortilla. Opinon is split on the role of the onions. Some use only the onion-flavoured oil: others incorporate the onions in the omelette. I fall into the latter camp. The Spanish say floury potatoes are best but I can only assume they have something very different in mind when they say floury than we Irish do. I find any potato that would boil on the dry side suitable and most often use a variety such as Exquisa, which are also small. The amount of potato might seem excessive, but as long as they fit in the pan that’s OK: the egg really serves to bind everthing together.

Summary

Makes: 6 tapas portions
Preparation: 10mins
Cooking: 20mins + 10mins + 10mins

Ingredients

50ml
2
500g
4
Good olive oil
Onions
Potatoes
Eggs
Salt
Pepper
Sunflower oil for deep frying

Method

Half the peeled onions lengthways and then slice quite thinly and evenly. Put the olive oil to heat over a medium ring. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook until golden, stirring every now and then. Don’t let them burn. When ready separate the onions from the oil using a sieve and reserve the oil. Next on to the potatoes. Depending on your potatoes you may need to peel them. Then cut into small pieces about the size of the end of your thumb and about 5mm thick. Deep fry the potato pieces at a medium temperature (about 140ºC), lifting them out just as they start to turn golden along the edges. Don’t turn them into French fries! Remove the excess oil with some kitchen paper.

We’re now ready to make the tortilla. The amounts in this recipe are intended for a 20cm frying pan, which should be heavy-based and well seasoned or non-stick. If you use a 25cm pan you’ll need to add 50% to all the ingredients. You have to get the pan quite hot to start and then reduce the heat. This can be tricky if you have an electric hob, so it’s probably easiest to use two rings, one hot, one low to medium. The tortilla also needs to be turned during cooking and you will need a flat plate comfortably bigger than pan for this. It pays to be organised for this dish.

Crack the eggs into a clean bowl. Add the potatoes and onions, if using, along with salt and pepper. Mix well using a fork. Place the pan on the hotter ring and add enough of the reserved olive oil to coat the pan. When the pan is hot, mix the eggs again with the fork and tip into the pan. Move the pan to the low ring. After 3 or 4 minutes the underside should be cooked nicely. Take a peek and it should be golden. The top will still be a little runny. The tortilla is now ready to be turned. This is the only tricky part of the dish. Keep your strong hand for the pan. Place the plate upside down on the pan, with the rim of the plate near where the handle joins the pan. Hold the pan with your strong hand and press gently but firmly on the plate. Lift the pan up from the stove. Now, in one quick movement turn the assembly upside down and lift away the pan. The tortilla should now be sitting on the plate along with a little uncooked egg mixture.

Wipe out the pan and return to the hotter ring, adding enough oil to coat. When hot, slide the tortilla from the plate back into the pan, letting the uncooked egg in first. Move the pan to the low ring and let the tortilla finish cooking. Wipe the dinner plate clean and turn out the finished tortilla as before. Tortilla tastes best when eaten at room temperature.