Month: September 2014

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French Tomato Tart

With tomato season rapidly coming to a close in Pennsylvania, it seems like the right time to share one of my new favorite summer brunch standbys. It takes just a few ingredients (Even less if you cut corners like I did and use a frozen pie crust. Don’t judge! I’m still mastering the homemade version.) and has a surprising zing that comes from whole grain mustard. It’s fresh, summery, and portable. This tart works from breakfast to dinner, fresh from the oven or chilled.

I made this for the first time for a small event I organized with a few of my girlfriends. It seems like we’re so busy these days it seems like we only really see each other in large groups, often by chance. When we do see each other we’re often accompanied by significant others or male friends. I love my guy friends, but I require girl time. So I decided to organize an event that no men would try to weasel their way into—a potluck picnic brunch.

This recipe is adapted from a David Lebowitz recipe that he adapted from Kate Hill’s book, A Culinary Journey in Gascony. Most notable change was a reduction in the temperature of the oven.

Ingredients

1 uncooked pie dough, homemade or store-bought
Whole grain mustard
Enough heirloom tomatoes to cover your tart—I used a single enormous tomato
Olive oil
Chopped fresh herbs of your choice
8 oz fresh goat cheese
Honey (optional but highly recommended)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Assembly

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Roll out your tart dough and fit it into your pan. Dock the dough into the pan by making indentations with your fingertips. You can also make a freestyle tart by rolling the dough out about 14 inches then laying it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. No need to dock the dough if you take this route, just be sure to leave a 2 inch boarder around your filling so you can fold it up before baking time.
  3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of mustard on the bottle of the tart dough evenly, then let set about 10 minutes.
  4. Slide your tomatoes into pretty rounds and arrange them on top of the mustard-coated dough. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Add your herbs, goat cheese, and some more herbs for good measure, then drizzle with a touch of honey.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes, keeping an eye on the crust so it doesn’t burn. If it starts to burn before everything looks good and cooked through, take it out and gently wrap some tin foil around the outer edge to protect the crust.
  8. To brown up the cheese more after cooking, hit it with the broiler. Just be sure to watch it like a hawk to make sure you don’t over-do it.

Happy baking!

 

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Opening Night at Abe Fisher

After a weekend away it seemed only natural to hit Abe Fisher for their first official night. I drove straight from the airport for a 10:30 reservation, totally ravenous, and ordered a round followed by a rapid-fire list of dishes.

Walking through each one wouldn’t do them justice, but it’s fair to say you can’t go wrong here. Everything was excellent, not to mention gorgeous. Furthermore, I’ve never been to an opening night that went so smoothly. The service was friendly and enthusiastic, and the space is beautiful.

The meal started with (warm! +100 points) bread service unlike anything I’ve had before. Schmaltzy challah “monkey bread” flavored with onions and chicken skin. Chicken skin. In bread. It’s so rich and decadent that you don’t even need butter. I regretfully failed to photograph this masterpiece because we attacked it like carb-vultures, but it’s a rather pretty small loaf pretty and topped with sesame seeds.

Drinks

The Boulevardier cocktail was basically created just for my palette. It contains Buffalo Trace bourbon, barrel-aged Manischewitz and Campari—it’s essentially a bourbon Negroni with sweet kosher wine in place of the sweet vermouth. Genius. The Abe Fisher Cocktail was also quite good, a briny, pickley gin concoction with some of the most delicious cocktail onions I’ve ever had.

Plate 1

The meal started with the borscht tartare, a generous mound of perfectly seasoned minced beets topped with dill, shaved horseradish, and trout roe served with a 6 minute egg and home made potato chips. I was not remotely surprised to love this. The sweetness of the beets combined with the heat from the horseradish and salty pops of trout roe played together in perfect harmony. I also cannot overstate how much I appreciate a perfected cooked hard boiled egg. A+.

Plate 2

Next was the raw and pickled bass, another plate I knew I’d be a sucker for. I cannot resist raw fish dishes at small plate restaurants, and pickled fish is something I’ve recently become obsessed with. This is basically a Jewish twist on a crudo, and it’s fantastic.

Plate 3

When the stuffed trout gefilte fish came out, I just kind of stared at it for a moment. I had never had gefilte fish but I had general idea of what to expect, and this was very unexpected. In a great way. It doesn’t have the “preserved” taste you would expect, but its rather fresh tasting with moist trout meat inside and wrapped in perfectly crispy trout skin. Definitely a must-try, even if you’re generally not a gefilte fish fan.

I think we may have over-ordered

Guys, the dry-aged lamb minute steak is so big (for a small plates restaurant) it should come with a disclaimer. That said, it’s absolutely phenomenal. I really can’t pick a favorite from what we had throughout the night, but this could be it. Tender and lambtastic. I basically ordered this entirely based on my love of redeye gravy, and they totally nailed it.

Oh god why

At this point we were all but on the floor, so we had to essentially force feed ourselves the veal schnitzel tacos. This is the only plate I probably wouldn’t order again, but that isn’t to say I didn’t like it. It’s exactly what you would expect it to be, and the schnitzel is fantastic. It’s thicker than schnitzel you’re probably used to, making for a seriously hefty taco. Two are served per order and if you can eat more than one of these you’re a monster.

I wasn’t bummed that we didn’t have room for dessert because I’m certain I’ll be back here soon. Abe Fisher’s menu is rare in that I want to eat literally every single thing they offer.

I’m coming for you, salmon belly gravlax.

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