Monday 28 May 2007

Shallot Tatin a la Ramsay

Ramsay, you may be a loud mouthed bully and multi millionaire... but your recipe in the Times on Saturday for Shallot and Goat's Cheese Tatin was incredible. Unctious. Oozey. Sweet. Gorgeous. So tasty in fact Cowie's Dad, David, said it was the finest onion based thing he had ever eaten!

Pic from The Spine

Victoria and I pottered off for the day to Clark's village near Glastonbury where I demolished a very tepid hot dog covered in lashings of mustard and ketchup. I cleaned myself up furiously to try to stop the news getting back to Cowie Junior! I managed to resist buying too much stuff from Le Crueset, just picking up some extra strength pan cleaner and a few odds and ends from a closing down sale around the corner. I left the chav ridden shopping mecca with damp feet but with a great sense of relief at the level of restraint I had shown!

Victoria and I nipped into Morrison's in Glastonbury which has to go down as the worst supermarket in the world! Why do they have so many automatic barriers to get in and none to get out?! Maybe it's to stop people having to endure their disgusting shop! The cheese, meat and fish counters were terrifyingly bad. Only one type of goat's cheese was on offer at the inept but pleasantly staffed cheese counter. It took them a good minute and a half to realise they had a customer... Still the cheese was delicious and perfect for the job. If I was doing this recipe again I would like to pay a trip to le Fromagerie first...

The beauty of cooking in the Cowie's kitchen is that they have everything on hand. AGA. Check. Perfect cast iron, oven ready skillet pan. Check. Sprig of thyme from the garden. Check. Glass of chilled white wine. Even better.

The smell of the caramel, shallots, hint of garlic (not in Ramsay's recipe - does that make this recipe my own?), white wine and stock bubbling up together was enought to make you want to give up work and devote yourself lock stock and barrel into the cooking world.

Here's Gordon's recipe coutesy of the Times.

Shallot tatin with goat's cheese and roasted tomatoes

Serves 4

If you can't get hold of Dorstone, look out for Sainte-Maure de Touraine, Chabichou du Poitou, Rosary or Pantysgawn in good cheese shops.

2 large vine-ripened tomatoes

3 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 sprig of thyme

65g caster sugar

75g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

300g shallots

150ml chicken or vegetable stock

300g puff pastry

Flour, to dust

120g Dorstone, cut in to 4 thick slices

Parsley sprigs, to garnish

1 Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Halve the tomatoes lengthways and place them, cut-side up, in a small shallow roasting tin. Trickle over 2 tbsp of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Strip the leaves from the thyme and sprinkle over. Roast for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened a little but are holding their shape. Remove from the oven; set aside to cool.

2 While the tomatoes are roasting, make a caramel. Sprinkle 50g of the sugar into a 20cm ovenproof shallow frying pan and melt over a moderate heat. Once the sugar has completely melted, turn the heat to high and cook to a mid-golden brown. Remove from the heat, stir in 50g butter and then the vinegar (watch out as it will splutter). Leave to cool in the frying pan.

3 Blanch the shallots in their skins in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and refresh under a cold running tap. Peel off the skins, trim the root ends and cut any larger shallots in half so that they are all roughly the same size.

4 Heat the remaining oil and butter in a large frying pan and add the shallots and last bit of sugar. Sauté over medium heat, tossing and turning them, for 10 minutes until they are golden-brown all over. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil and braise the shallots in the liquid for a further 10 minutes until tender. Drain the syrupy liquid; arrange the shallots on top of the caramel in the other pan. Leave to cool.

5 Roll the puff pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a 23cm round. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry over the shallots in the pan and position centrally. Tuck the pastry edges down the side of the pan, enclosing the shallots. Transfer to the fridge to cool for 1-2 hours.

6 Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Bake the chilled tart for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden-brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes before inverting on to a large, flat serving plate. Reheat the tomatoes; arrange on top of the tart with the goat's cheese. Drizzle over any tomato juices from the roasting tin; garnish with parsley."

Photos to follow once I get them off Victoria's camera!

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