I wanted to use some of the wild thyme we picked yesterday while walking the dog. All the wild herbs are in flower at the moment here, very pretty..
Look at these basil flowers, aren’t they beautiful? I have never seen a basil plant flower like this. We have normal basil and a purple basil plant on our roof terrace but neither of them have flowered like this. This was in someone’s garden so we couldn’t pick any, such a shame, can you imagine how lovely they would look on a Caprese salad…. maybe another day.
This thyme was growing wild at the side of the road so we picked some..
I had a couple of little bags of shallots in the fridge so I thought I’d have a go at a tarte tatin. A tarte tatin is an upside down tart normally made with puff pastry. You make the filling in a caramel (apples are the classic filling) then top it with puff pastry, bake and turn it out the right way up to serve. The sweet caramelized shallots contrast really well with the sour, sharp goat’s cheese and the thyme adds a classic herbal flavour.
Caramelized Shallot & Goat’s Cheese Tarte Tatin Recipe
Serves 2 Vegetarian
Adapted from a James Martin recipe
- about 500 gr shallots
- 1 sheet of puff pastry (defrosted in the fridge overnight, it has to be cold when you use it )
- 5 slices of a small log of goat’s cheese (about 1/2 cm slices)
- 3 oz sugar
- 1 oz butter
- fresh thyme sprigs & flowers
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Put the unpeeled shallots on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper, scatter over some thyme leaves, toss together with you hands to coat evenly and roast for 20 minutes. (You can peel them first, but I find it easier to peel them when they are cooked).
When they are cool enough to handle peel the shallots by squeezing them out of their skins, spirinkle with a few more thyme leaves and a pinch of salt. Melt the sugar over a highish heat in a saucpan until you have a caramel. Don’t stir it, swirl it. Add the butter and stir it to melt it in. As soon as the butter has melted into the sugar pour it into an 8 inch/20 cm round baking dish and quickly tumble over the shallots in so they fit tightly and in one layer. The sugar will start to harden (don’t touch the sugar its really hot!).
Roll out the pastry if necessary to about 2 or 3 mm thick. Then cut out a circle about 1 inch bigger than the dish. Put the pastry on top of the shallots and tuck it in around the edge in between the shallots and the inside of the dish.
Bake in the 2oo degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked. Take the tart out of the oven and leave it for 1 or 2 minutes to stop bubbling. (Don’t do it straight away or leave it any longer because the sugar will harden and you won’t be able to get it out). Turn the grill onto high. Put an ovenproof plate on top of the tart dish, hold it tightly over and flip the tart dish over quickly and carefully so the tart plops out onto the plate. Leave it for a second to let any stray shallots fall down then remove the baking dish. Put the slices of goat’s cheese, one in each quarter and one in the centre, sprinkle with a few more thyme leaves and put it under the grill for a few minutes or until the cheese melts.
Garnish with thyme flowers and serve with a rocket salad dressed with olive oil & balsamic vinegar, or some thyme buttered new potatoes.