I first discovered him one sleepless night in December. As is often the case when I can't sleep, I get out my iPad and start trolling my favorite blog sites for new and interesting recipes. One of them, a cookbook site, had a little feature on Yotam Ottolenghi's newest book, Plenty. The cover photo alone was stunning and pulled me right in... beautifully roasted eggplants smothered in a yogurt cream strewn with za'atar and pomegranate seeds. Oh, my....
four restaurants, all of which get terrific reviews. Oh, how I would love to have this man cook for me! But, for now, I will cook for me (and Mark) and will use his recipes. And, should he ever come to Tucson, he is welcome to pop in and we can cook together!
1 1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 pound baby potatoes, skins on
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon butter
3 oregano sprigs
5 ounces hard goat's cheese, sliced
1 sheet puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 275°F. Halve the tomatoes and place them cut-side up on a baking-sheet. Drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven to roast for 45 minutes.
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 3/8-inch thick discs.
Sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil and some salt for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Once you've prepared all the vegetables, liberally brush a 9-inch cake pan with oil and line the bottom with a circle of baking-parchment.
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. This must be done quickly, as the caramel will set and won't spread.
Pick the oregano leaves, tear and scatter on the caramel. Lay the potato slices close together on the bottom of the pan. Evenly distribute the tomato halves over the potatoes and then the onions over the tomatoes. Spread the slices of goat's cheese evenly over the vegetables.
Cut a round of pastry that is 1 inch larger in diameter than the cake pan. 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.)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the tart for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is thoroughly cooked.
Remove from the oven and let sit 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. (See last "Note" below.) Serve the tart hot or warm.
• I used baby San Marzano tomatoes from the farmers market as they were only slightly larger than grape tomatoes, and had so much more flavor.
• I didn't have any hard goat's cheese so used soft chèvre that I had on hand
• I prefer regular pastry over puff pastry as it is kinder to the diner with the fork in hand... And it is also homemade - which I also prefer.
• In no way am I saying my changes improved on his tart - I simply used what I had on hand and there were no complaints at the table!
• Finally, I wish I could say mine came out as beautifully and as easily as his. I had to replace a few potatoes here and there that got stuck to the parchment which did NOT release from the pan! That is why I added the word "liberally" to the directions when talking about preparing the cake pan.