This week, we have a bittersweet task. Honoring our friend and fellow blogger Ro DiDomenico, or Nana, as she was to most of us. This recipe was one that she had wanted to make for some time, and if my dish is any indication, she was certainly watching over the process – no better pastry crust, no better end result! So thanks to Nana, who has been with so many of us from the very first week of French Fridays with Dorie, cooking through Around My French Table, by Dorie Greenspan.
I haven’t been anything like as prolific with “meet-ups” with “Doristas”, but I was fortunate to get to spend an evening with Nana, and her daughter Trisha – I even got to meet Jim, her husband, who was just as charming. We talked so much over dinner, that we actually never took any pictures (Tricia and I made up for that I think, on a subsequent evening)! A true delight, and I consider myself fortunate!
On to the tart! I was able to taste this at a book signing in Seattle, where I met Dorie and Michael. It was delicious, and I’ve looked forward to making it myself. Dorie’s tip that evening was to make the crust dough, roll it out between parchment, and then chill or freeze it. She said it didn’t matter the sequence, as long as the dough got it’s proper rest. I completely agree with that method!
This tart has all of the wonderful ingredients of a lazy Sunday brunch of bagels and lox, just re-imagined, and with a pastry shell. I don’t even just love, love salmon – though smoked is the best, and I like it the style most common in the west – more of a hot-smoked to give it some texture. I remember Dorie using that in Seattle too – it was a bit of a surprise to her, but there’s great local salmon there, including smoked.
Simple enough, cream cheese, sliced red onion, capers, dill and then a bit of cream and egg to hold it together, and a few cherry tomatoes on top. Perfect.
Well, Nana was with me – my pastry turned out great. I was making an individual tart, since I’m staying safe at home. I’m sure the puppies would have liked me to have made a full tart and accidentally dropped it, but no such luck for them. I made the full recipe of the pastry, using just enough for my single tart pan. To be economical, I actually used a couple of parchment rounds for lining cake pans – what a great thing! Made it so easy, with a bit of a guide – I might be onto something!
The crust for the tart, and the rest, took a rest in the freezer for a bit, then got placed in the pan(s), chilled again, and then partially baked.
Once the crust is done, the rest is the easiest thing. I didn’t really measure, just kind-of eyeballed 1/6 of the ingredients. The egg part was a bit trickier – but close enough. Once the filling and the egg mixture are in the crust, just the topping of the (garden) cherry tomatoes, and then into the oven.
It puffed beautifully, and came out of the oven perfectly. After a bit of a cooling period, I served it with a little bubbly, and while looking at her last post, toasted “our” Nana, and thought about how special friendships are, even when a couple of thousands of miles apart. She was so happy when her “taste testers” were over, and especially if they loved her dishes. Her Italian Feast of Seven Fishes”, trips to Paris with Jim, and her local adventures with Trisha and family were all shared with us, and I, for one, was better for it.
This really is a great dish, and I will certainly be making this again. It hits all of the right notes, and is just delicious. And of course, now I will always think of Nana when I do!