Potatoes. They have to be one of the more remarkable vegetables I know when I really think about it. I can’t think of another vegetable that’s more versatile. We make salads out of them, gratin them, french fry them, bake them, roast them, slice them, dice them, saute them, steam them and boil them. I think the only way we don’t eat them is raw, at least not that I know of. However, maybe we do all that because the plain potato is a bit dull. It needs dressing up. I’ll make an exception for some of the more diverse varieties that you can get from small farmers, but the potatoes available to most of us need help. This recipe does that oh so well and it turns out, in a way that can be taken to a potluck. This recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi has taken me a few tries to figure out. It’s a tatin, which according to my research is usually done with fruit, so the caramelizing that he has you do to top off the potato tatin, had me a little stumped to begin with, mainly because I think the book had a typo on the amount of butter it called for. I mean what recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of butter! I followed it faithfully the first time, because that’s what I do, but I decided to change the amount the second time and it went much better. I made this for dinner on Tuesday, but made a double version so I could take this dish to my potluck on Wednesday. One of my friends pointed out that the puff pastry crust could get soggy if you make it ahead, so it would probably be best if you cooked it just before you took it to your party, but I don’t usually have the time or patience for that. I took it to my party after it sat out for a day, but it still was easily portable, made a striking presentation and was gone by the end of the night, so I’m making this one of the dishes that will help me to hate potlucks less than I did before. I recommend it for you if you’re not a potluck fan either!
About 1 1/2 hours
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lb new potatoes (skin on)
1 large onion, sliced thinly
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
3 oregano sprigs
5 oz. chevre, sliced
1 puff pastry sheet
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Halve the tomatoes and toss them in 2 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper. Then place them skin side down on a baking sheet and place in the oven to dry for 45 minutes or until they begin to shrivel and look dried.
Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 25 minutes. Drain and let cool. Cut into 1 inch thick discs which means in half for most of them, thirds for the larger potatoes.
Saute the onion with 2 tbsp oil and some salt for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and nicely caramelized.
Once you’ve prepared the vegetables, brush a 9″ cake pan with oil and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. In a small pan, cook the sugar and butter on high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, to get a semi-dark caramel. Pour the caramel into the cake pan and tilt it to spread a little. I wasn’t able to spread it much, but it didn’t matter in the end, so don’t worry if your caramel only covers about half the pan. Pick the oregano leaves and scatter onto the caramel.
Lay the potato slices close together, cut-side down, on the bottom of the pan. Gently press onion and tomatoes into the gaps and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread the goat slices evenly over the potatoes. Cut the puff pastry into a disc that is 1 inch larger than the pan-you made to use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry a little bit to achieve this. Lay the pastry lid over the tart filling and gently tuck the edges down around the potatoes inside the pan. (At this stage you could chill the tart for up to 24 hours.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the tart for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15 minutes or until the pastry is thoroughly cooked. Remove from oven and let settle for 2 minutes only. Hold an inverted plate firmly on top of the pan and carefully but briskly turn the over together, then lift off the pan. Serve the tart hot or warm.