Hey, why not give Tarte Tatin a savory twist and serve it as an appetizer instead of dessert?
I’m sure you all know the legend behind Tarte Tatin. The French apple pie that fell upside down on the kitchen floor – picked up by the Tatin sisters and served to unsuspecting guests who loved it so much it became a classic of French cookery. Okay, it was a long long time ago and you better believe they kept the floors really clean back then.
To think this massively popular dessert was invented as a result of let’s say – un croche pied – is quite refreshing compared to the soulless inventions coming out of some of today’s kitchen labs. I can’t help but imagining this moment so full of joyous inadvertent creation, like wind through an open window. But maybe that’s just me.This wild mushroom Tarte Tatin took a sharp turn away from tradition and went North instead – straight from sweet to savory on tastebuds Superhighway. And the ride was surprisingly smooth. The caramel is still there but in small dose and deglazed with sherry vinegar to give it the right touch of acidity. The rest is a mixture of mushrooms sauteed with garlic and thyme, a shallot confit spiked with anchovies, and good old puff pastry. I kept the recipe simple and skipped the step of dropping the tart on the kitchen floor. Of course it’s optional and even recommended if you have a well-seasoned floor.
Here’s what you do. Sautee the sliced mushrooms in olive oil. I used a combination of creminis, maitake, chanterelles and a few white mushrooms. Do not crowd the pan too much. When they start to caramelize, add some chopped garlic and thyme. Sautee for another 30 seconds and set aside.
Meanwhile, warm some olive oil in another skillet and add 5 finely sliced shallots. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and cook over medium heat until very soft. 10 to 15 minutes. Add 3 chopped anchovies and a tablespoon of chopped thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes and set aside. Deglaze the skillet with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, swirl it around and pour it over the mushrooms.
Make the caramel by combining 3 tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar caramelizes and turns a deep amber color, add 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar. Pour immediately into four 4 – ounces ramequins. Let it cool for 1 minute. Place the cooled mushrooms over the sherry caramel, about 2/3 up the sides. Pack it in.
Top each ramequin with the shallot confit. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into four circles about the size of the opening of the ramequins. Press a little to even out the layers. Place on the baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden.
Cool 1 or 2 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Best served at room temperature with a salad and some shaved parmegiano reggiano. Enjoy as an appetizer or as a garnish for let’s say – a duck confit.
Croche-pied [pyay] is French for ‘trip somebody up’, but croche-pied sounds so much better. Haha.