Savoury Tarte Tatin, An Impressive Centrepiece For A Vegetarian Meal

What goes well with this savoury tarte Tatin?

I have a couple of vegetarian friends and, very frequently, when they come for dinner this savoury version of a tarte Tatin forms the impressive centrepiece, flanked by a warm artichoke, broad bean and chard salad and a plate of aubergines with a saffron yoghurt sauce.

This serves eight if it’s accompanied by a couple of other vegetarian dishes such as those suggested above.

You can make this Tatin with Jersey Royals, or with parsnips depending on the season, and it goes particularly well with a saffron sauce.

You can also leave out the tomatoes and onions and substitute for rosemary and garlic. Or you can make it entirely out of tomatoes (different colour tomatoes would look amazing) and red onion.

Another impressive-looking tarte Tatin is a beetroot tarte Tatin: either one conceived by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, with a filling of beetroot, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, feta and toasted hazelnuts; or one published in The Australian Women’s Weekly Nourished Kitchen for a filling with honey, sherry vinegar, labne and horseradish, and linseed and almond pastry, and a topping of dill and walnut pesto.

 

You can make this ahead of time

You can make the tarte up to the baking stage the day before, refrigerate, and then bake at the last moment. Alternatively you can also complete the cooking ahead of time and gently reheat. What else to listen to as you make this but Ray Charles and James Taylor singing Sweet Potato Pie.

 

Variations

You can, of course, vary this by substituting the potato filling for other vegetables. In her book, In Praise of Veg, Alice Zaslavsky uses onions – any type – caramelising them with sherry, caster sugar and white wine vinegar; seasoning with thyme, bay and anchovy; and serving with a sprinkling of feta.

 

Recipe for savoury potato tarte Tatin

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 280g/10 oz jar sundried tomatoes in olive oil
  • 500g/1 lb Jersey Royal potatoes or some parsnips
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tbsp moist, brown sugar
  • 1 knob of butter (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 200g feta, or even better St Helens goats’ cheese. I haven’t tried it, but Caerphilly might also be good
  • 1 x 250g/8 oz (or thereabouts) sheet of puff pastry – or buy a pack of Dorset puff pastry from Ocado, roll out and use about half to two-thirds of it. The pastry shouldn’t be too thick otherwise with the potato filling the whole thing becomes too stodgy – the pastry is just a method for keeping the whole thing together and providing a base for the caramel.
  • Smoked salt and Indonesian long pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC (use the aga roasting oven)
  2. Drain the sundried tomatoes (reserve the oil) and chop roughly any especially large ones
  3. Roast the parsnips, or boil the Jersey Royals for 15-20 minutes depending on their size, whichever you happen to be using, and cut them into rounds
  4. Fry the onion in some of the oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes and a little salt until they start to caramelise.
  5. Mix the sugar and butter together with a wooden or heat-resistant manmade spoon over a high heat until that caramelises also. Add the dried oregano.
  6. Cut a piece of baking paper to fit the bottom of an ovenproof frying pan and stick it to the base with a little oil
  7. Pour the caramel into the frying pan to cover the baking paper in the bottom – you will need to slant it this way and that to get an even coverage.
  8. Cover the caramel-covered base with the rounds of potato or parsnip so that they touch each other’s edges as much as possible – the idea is that it looks like the photograph.
  9.  Fill in the holes with the fried onion and the sundried tomatoes.
    10. Season
    11. Cover with crumbled or sliced goats’ cheese or the feta
    12. Cut a round pastry lid for the whole – it needs to be generously cut enough that you can tuck it down around the sides.
    13. Bake 25 minutes in the hot oven, then turn the temperature down to 180ºC or move to the aga baking oven for another 15 minutes.
    14. Take it out, leave it for a couple of minutes, then – wearing oven gloves – take a round wooden bread board – or something else flat and round – place it on top, invert, get the tarte to drop down onto the board, carefully remove the frying pan, and, triumphantly peel off the baking paper.
savoury tarte Tatin recipe
Cut the puff pastry sufficiently generously so as to allow you to tuck it in gently down the sides

Music to listen to as you cook

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