Showing posts with label crottin de champcol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crottin de champcol. Show all posts

15 March 2014

What's in My Cheese Compartment Right Now

Bleu d'Auvergne, strong, not for wimps

Although I live in Wisconsin and love traveling to France, I don't have any special knowledge of cheese: in fact, I learn something new all the time.

Tasting cheese is more enjoyable for me than tasting wine, beer, or even coffee. And yes, even chocolate.

When we finally gave our refrigerator a good cleaning yesterday, tossing out the contents of outdated bottles and jars and recycling the glass, there wasn't much left other than cheese.

Here's what's in my cheese box right this minute:

09 February 2014

Tart with Cipollini Onions, Goat Cheese and Squash

From 2012: I bought some more cipollini onions today. I can't help myself. They are so sweet, in taste and in form.

A while ago, I made this dish and the memory of it propelled me forward. Sometimes you need one recipe to suggest another.

I'd never worked with cipollini onions until 2012, although I must have consumed them in something at some point. (They look light flattened versions of regular onions, or maybe little vegetable spaceships.) One night, I made a side dish with delicata squash. Surely there's a sweet marriage here somewhere?

(I worried about peeling these flat little beauties, and thought I might lose a finger, but then I found these suggestions online. As it turned out, I had no problems once I halved the onions so they were easier to peel and slice.)

I also had a small round of Crottin de Champcol, a pasteurized goat cheese produced at Sancerre in the Loire region of France. I'd never tried that before either. It comes in a small wheel that you can hold in the palm of your hand, and is close to the consistency of cream cheese.

So here's how it all came together:

Sweet Autumn Tart with Cipollini Onions and Delicata Squash
  • 2-3 cipollini onions, peeled and sliced of diced
  • 1 small delicata squash, seeded and sliced in 1/4 in slices*
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup grated gruyere cheese
  • 1 sheet commercial puff pastry
  • 1 small wheel Crottin de Champcol or any other goat creamy cheese
  • 1/2 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons bacon bits, optional
  • dash sea salt, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a large skillet, brown the onions in butter and brown sugar until they begin to caramelize. Remove from skillet, leaving some juices behind. Set aside. Brown the squash slices in the same skillet, flipping over to ensure both sides turn a golden color. You may need to add more butter.

Set aside both the onions and the squash while you prepare the crust.

Roll out the puff pastry to ensure it fits in a greased tart pan. To be honest, I simply lay the pastry sheet in the pan and work it until it is evenly distributed. Next, sprinkle 1/2 cup of gruyere on the bottom of the crust. Distribute evenly. Bake the crust for roughly 10 minutes in the oven, monitoring it carefully. When you remove it, you will need to use a spoon or spatula to flatten the bottom of the crust.

Next, layer the squash, followed by the onions and the goat cheese. (If you choose to add bacon, do it now, distributing evenly. The cheese is creamy, so it will need to be tucked in between onions and squash. The cheese acts as a binder, holding the onions and squash together.

Finally, season with sea salt before returning to the oven for another 25-30 minutes of baking. About 15 minutes into the baking, add remainder of shredded gruyere cheese and fresh thyme. Check frequently; the top of the tart should turn a golden color before you remove it from the oven. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

This is sweet, but not a dessert tart. It would make a great appetizer, or a meal in itself. In the latter case, I'd serve it with ham and a green salad, pairing it with a Riesling.

As it is, the sweetness tempers the slight tanginess of the tart. The cheese provides a good foil for the faint hint of brown sugar.

* You could use any winter squash.

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