Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ottolenghi Returns - Potato Tarte Tatin

I am happily relaxing on vacation and have been cooking casually (in bad light) and eating out on the town. Last night I went to Sun of a Gun, the seafood counterpart to Animal. We sat at the communal table and had a nice meal of shared plates among friends. It was my first experience with alligator - tastes like tender chicken - and I also discovered that I do like smoked fish when it comes in the form of a mahi mahi dip created by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, mmmm)! Hence, I have been lazily abstaining from blogging and the entire e-world, which is probably good for my sanity every now and again (although, I have been watching some late-night trash-cable-TV because I can).  In spite of my vacation mindset, I have managed to do some cooking and taken a few photographs along the way.

Continuing on my Ottolenghi-kick, I bought my dad the new cookbook, Plenty, and, while I had it in my grasps, decided I needed to take advantage. I scoured the recipes and found the biggest challenge to be choosing just one thing to make, but, being a potato-lover, decided upon Ottolenghi's "Surprise Tatin."
It was a delicious 'tarte' with potatoes, caramelized onions, and sweet, slow-roasted tomatoes. Being that it was a "tatin," there was a small caramel sauce on the bottom of the pan that, in the professional cookbook photos, looks like it ought to meld beautifully with the fingerling potatoes. In my experience, it worked out a bit differently. I still don't have my caramel procedures down pat - I threw my sugar and butter into the pan, turned on the heat and stared and stirred intently making sure that it browned but did not burn. Alas, it never got really smooth and liquid-y, instead preferring to remain chunky. As it turned a nice golden color I "poured" (scraped) it into the pie pan and attempted to "spread it evenly" (deposited the clumps around the pan).

Once I had my caramel positioned, I spread around some fresh oregano, placed my potato-halves and then squeezed the roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions in the gaps. To finish the tarte, I was supposed to add a dry-aged goat cheese but opted for a not so dry goat cheese, because it was what I had. Then, the final piece was to place a round crust of puff pastry atop my pie . . . unfortunately, I bought filo dough instead. I made it work by melting a bit of butter and layering sheet after sheet of filo with a generous shmear of the melted butter - not quite what the recipe called for but it worked out and was delicious.


  1. You are such a good picture taker. I especially love a couple: the one with the couple featured squarely in the middle of the window featured squarely in the photo AND the placement in the photo of the lifeguard stand. You have a good eye.

  2. That just made my stomach rumble. Not the alligator, but the potato pie thingie. Please make me one. Gorgeous photos -- where were you? You know, you're really not consistent with those captions I demanded.