Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Baby Onion, Fennel, Green Bean & Sausage Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin is not just a clever and delicious way to do apples, but also vegetables. Each season, our onion crop has some runts. Appreciating their tiny round form and dazzling flavour when carmelised, I let these underperformers shine in an upside-down savory tart.

The fennel and green beans are also from our potager

Though stovetop carmelised baby onions are lovely, going the extra step of cosily covering them in short crust pastry and letting the oven do its thing, brings them into such succulence that the eater ceases all thinking as she becomes one with the onions.

This plump morsel first delivers a moist pop in the mouth before it melts!

makes an 8-inch tart

Baby onions, blanched, peeled, 14 fluid ounces
Sausage, cooked, crumbled, blotted, 8 fluid ounces
Green beans, cooked, cut into 1 inch pieces, 4 fluid ounces
Fennel, fresh, minced, 1 T
Maple syrup, 1 T
Butter, sweet, 1 T
Sherry vinegar, 1 tsp
Chicken broth, up to 6 fluid ounces
Short pastry, homemade or store-bought, enough for a 9 inch round

The runts on the right are about one inch in diameter (Stutgarter variety)

To facilitate peeling, throw them into boiling water for a minute or two, and then fish them out and put in a bowl of cold water. Slice off the root end.

The peel will come off almost on its own willpower.

Put the maple syrup and butter into a heavy-bottom skillet and over low heat, melt the butter.

Stir in the onions and coat well with the glaze.  Add the broth in increments throughout the carmelisation. When the liquid is mostly gone and the glaze looks gooey, add a little more of the broth.

Those ice cubes are comprised of my own frozen homemade broth!

Keep the skillet covered. After thirty minutes, add the sherry vinegar and simmer for another fifteen minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add the beans and sausage and stir well.

Toss in the fennel and stir again. Salt to taste.

Lightly oil a baking pan (I used a twelve-inch pizza pan). Spread the mixture in a single, circular layer as much as possible. If needed, deglaze the empty skillet with a little broth and pour that onto the filling.

Place the pastry over the tepid veggies, tucking under the edges. Bake around thirty-five minutes.

Let cool a bit, about five minutes, then carefully go under the tatin with a thin, flexible spatula. Hold firmly the right sized plate over it and turn the whole lot over. The glazed goodness will now be visible.

Served best warm, this delectable tart is brimming with autumnal comfort.

In the garden, blue asters, pink Japanese anemones, and white oleanders are softly rustling in the cool breeze.

The fat, green pods in the upper right belong to a rose of sharon

An important focus in the potager is weeding the beds now empty of veggies.

An another is to improve the soil of those beds with compost so they can be productive next season.

Yet to be sieved!

Dirac the kitten continues to make us laugh with his antics...

...and soothes us with his composure and beauty.

À la prochaine!