Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Potato, Cheese and Onion Tart
I was trying to find a savory item for company that was coming for lunch. I had hoped for it to be finger food-ish. But not necessary. Recently I was sent a copy of Cook's Country magazine, in the hopes that I would then purchase a subscription. I get a lot of these solicitations. Seems I am on a list. My biggest problem with magazine subscriptions is getting off when I want. I don't want automatic renewal!!!
Whew! Enough of that. So anyway, there was a recipe in the magazine I wanted to try. There were some things I liked and some I didn't, so I changed a few things and I will also tell you some things to do that I wished I had done.
Potato, Cheese and Onion Tart
2 sheets Puff Pastry (one box)
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese. I happened to have some Swiss left over from making a quiche, so I substituted that.
4 cups frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1 pound Italian Sausage. The recipe called for a few lousy pieces of bacon. I wanted a meal not a snack!
3 shallots, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1/3 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon. I couldn't find any fresh at the market, so I substituted the last of my fresh basil. I think it is done for the season.
Take the Puff Pastry out of the freezer about 40 minutes before you need it. Open the package and allow it to thaw. Put the potatoes out to thaw. I also picked out the brown bits where there were those funny black spots, but I am OCD that way. :-) Preheat oven to 350.
Start the sausage cooking. I used Jimmy Dean Italian sausage for two reasons. One, I didn't want to deal with removing the casings and two, because I saw the Jimmy Dean when I was looking for the Italian Sausage where you have to remove the casings.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or use a Silpat. Press the ends of the two pieces of pastry together. It BARELY fit on my pan, so you may have to fiddle with it. Then brush water all around the edges. Fold over about 3/4 of an inch all around the border to make a rim. Use a fork to puncture little holes all on the interior. Use a small knife to make little horizontal cuts around the border. This to keep it from swelling up in the oven. It will do it anyway.
The recipe called for 1 cup of cheese to be cooked on top. It made the pastry REALLY hard to cut through. So here is where I will tell you to try something different from what I did. Use about 1/2 cup. Just a few sprinkles of cheese on top of the pastry and bake it for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. I did 15 minutes and it was a bit much.
Peel and thinly slice the shallots. No shallots? Onions will work. Place the thawed potatoes on paper towels and press to remove the excess moisture.
When the sausage is no longer pink, remove it and place it on a paper towel to absorb the oil. There is a bit of oil in the pan, but I didn't think it was enough. I added about 1 teaspoon of Olive Oil and then started cooking the shallots. In just a few minutes they will soften. Then add the potatoes and cook for about 6 minutes. Season with S & P and stir from time to time.
Mix the tarragon (or basil in my case and it was delish. It was starting to die off, so I had to pick just the smallest leaves.) in with the sour cream. Now to put everything together.
The pastry is out of the oven. Mix the sausage back in with the potatoes and put it on top of the pastry. If it puffed up too much during the first baking, the potato/sausage mixture will soften it and you can gently press it down. Not smash it down. Gently. Then top with the rest of the cheese and dot all over with the sour cram.
Place it back in the oven and cook for 5 minutes to melt the cheese and warm the sausage back up. If you used parchment, it will be easy to lift everything up and cut on a cutting board. I used a plastic knife and was VERY careful to not cut my Silpats. They are very expensive!