Saturday, February 28, 2009

Blood Orange & Balsamic Glazed Shallot Tarte Fine w/ Lavender Orange Honey Drizzle

This delicious mouthful of a title is my entry for the March Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jen, The Leftover Queen. This is a friendly monthly competition for fellow members of her forum. The past month's winner chooses the 3 ingredients for the following month's Joust. The February winner was Angela of Spinach Tiger. Her blog is absolutely beautiful and worth checking out. Her choice of ingredients for this month's Joust were satsuma (or any other citrus)-zest, fruit or juice, shallots and edible flowers (any form). It took me several days to ponder these and find some inspiration. The addition of shallots threw me off a bit. Turning to my fridge for a quick inventory, I discovered a package of frozen puff pastry and goat cheese. The pantry yielded honey and dried lavender flowers. Aha! The wheels began turning and the aforementioned mouthful of a title is what I came up with. I whipped this together yesterday for a fantastic Friday evening meal. Now I must get this posted here and on the forum. As with my past entries, I hope this one is a winner!

Make the infused honey early in the day or a day or two in advance. I made mine the in the morning and let it sit all day before straining. Use the best honey you can find. The dried lavender can usually be found at a natural foods store. I decided on blood orange for my citrus because I thought it would be a great pairing with the balsamic vinegar, and it did not disappoint! I went a little heavy on the glazed, or caramelized shallots. You could easily cut these in half, but why? Their sweetness is a wonderful offset to the saltiness of the goat cheese. This tarte would also be nice with feta. The drizzle of honey just before plating is heavenly! I have plenty leftover for tea, toast, etc. Here are the recipes and photos for my entry.

Blood Orange & Balsamic Glazed Shallot Tarte Fine w/ Lavender Orange Honey Drizzle
makes 1 Tart Fine

1/2 package, or 1 sheet or frozen puff pastry
3 tbl Earth Balance spread
1 lb shallots, peeled and sliced
juice of 1 blood orange (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (perhaps a bit more)
2 tbl organic sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
7 oz goat cheese
1 tbl fresh thyme
Lavender Orange Honey (recipe to follow)

The first step is to prepare the shallots. After they have been peeled and sliced fairly thin, heat the Earth Balance in a large, non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add the shallots to the pan the saute until they soften and just begin to turn a nice golden color, about 10 minutes. Pour your juice from the orange into a 1/2 cup measure and then add enough of the vinegar to equal your 1/2 cup. Add this, the sugar, salt and pepper to the shallots. Turn the heat down to low and slowly cook until most of the liquid has cooked away and the remainder is thickened and syrupy. Remove from heat. Cool the mixture to room temperature, then cover and store in the fridge if you are not using until later (just be sure to bring the shallots back to room temperature before assembling your tart).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Thaw the pastry according to the package instructions. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and lightly dust with flour. Roll the pastry on the paper lined sheet to 12" x 10", then fold a bit of the edges in to form a border. If the pastry tears or cracks, mend with a bit of water and press together. Prick the pastry all over with a fork or tip of your knife and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. When you are ready to bake, give the border a nice brush with the beaten egg and place the pastry in the oven and bake until just golden, about 10 minutes. To view a picture of a previous post with a Tarte Fine go here.

When the pastry is just golden, remove from the oven. It will have puffed up a bit, but will fall when you take it out and it begins to cool. Now you are ready to place the toppings.

Begin with the shallots. Lightly place them in a generous layer. Then, drop the crumbles of goat cheese and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Place the tart back in the oven and continue to bake until the cheese gets a tinge of brown, bubbles a bit and the pastry is a deeper golden brown. Remove, slice and them drizzle generously with the infused honey.

To accompany this tart I tossed together a salad of romaine and bibb lettuces, diced pear, pistachios and a dried cranberry/pomegranate blend (found at Trader Joes), all dressed in a light vinaigrette. I added a few fresh pansies (edible) that I found on sale at the grocery store. If you have never eaten one, try it! They have a slight licorice taste.

Since it was a Friday night and I had this fun theme going, we began with a cocktail. It consists of a squeeze of lemon in each martini glass, some good vodka chilled with ice in a shaker, then strained into the glass and topped off with a splash of Blood Orange Italian Soda (from Target, who knew?). I then garnished each with a pansy, so cute and yummy! Maybe I will call it a B.O.T. (Blood Orange Tini, any other suggestions?). We munched on a few of the marinated olives while the tarte baked. Nothing like a good drink and a salty snack!

Here is the recipe for the infused honey. I am drinking a cup of tea with a bit of this honey while I type this, so good!

Lavender Orange Infused Honey

Heat 1 cup of good organic honey in a small heavy pot until it just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the peel of 1 blood orange and 2 tsp dried lavender flowers. Stir, cover and let sit at room temperature all day. Using a fine sieve, strain the honey mixture, pushing it with the back of a spoon to extract as much of the honey as you can. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

FYI: I just finished knitting a fun pair of socks and will be featuring them on the inaugural post of my new knitting blog, Knitalogue which should be up and running by the end of the weekend!


Waiting for the Big Giant said...

OMG! This is incredible. You must win the contest. It's lucky I'm sitting down, otherwise I would have fallen over with being-impressed-ness...or something. Good work. Very creative use of items and, as usual, great pics.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this sounds incredible! I am a huge fan of caramelized onions/shallots. What a great combination of flavors! I bet it would make a good focaccia topping, too... or maybe little tartlets as an hors d'oeuvre. :)

Betty said...

This looks so delicious! I love your blog too, very pretty!

Foodycat said...

Oh that looks amazing! So pretty. And the flavours sound so good!

SwamiMami said...

Yumm... I feel like I am virtual cooking! I don't think Little Man has the expanded pallet to enjoy it yet... but it looks delicious!( btw love the cat photos!)

Netts Nook said...

Love the onions looks great I can just imagine how good it tastes. Thanks for sharing.

Baskets by Bonnie said...

I will have to try making the Lavender Orange Honey Drizzle this summer. I love honey & always have a bit around the house and I grow lavender. Just need to find Blood Oranges....

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love all the flavor combinations in this tarte! Wow.