If you joined us for brunch this past Sunday (1/6), maybe you were one of the lucky guests who ordered our savory tart. It was filled with a custard made from Clock Shadow Creamery quark, which was then topped with Brussels sprouts and a runny egg. Is your mouth watering yet?
The good news is, even if you didn’t have the chance to try it at the restaurant, I stopped by Nightwood on Saturday while JV was rolling out the tart dough for brunch and snagged the recipe from him … so now you can make it at home.
:: INGREDIENTS – SAVORY TART DOUGH ::
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. of each: dried dill, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper
- 3/4 c. cold, unsalted butter; cut into small cubes
- 1/4 c. cold water
:: INGREDIENTS – CUSTARD ::
(Note: This will only yield enough custard base for 1-2 small tarts. Multiply the recipe as necessary.)
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/2 c. soft/fresh cheese (we used quark)
- 1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
:: METHOD ::
On a flat, non-stick or floured surface, combine the flour, salt and dried herbs/seasonings. Then, using the “cut-in method,” incorporate the cold butter into the flour mixture (using your fingers or a fork) until it resembles chunks the size of peas. This will ensure a flaky crust. Now, take the cold water and slowly add it to the mixture, carefully incorporating it into the dough. It’s difficult to say whether or not you will need all of the water; you are basically adding it until the dough comes together nicely and isn’t crumbling into dry pieces. Be sure not to over-work the dough. Once you’ve achieved the right consistency, you can either separate it into smaller disks of dough if you’re making individual tarts (yields ~6), or keep it in one large disk if making 1-2 large tarts. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
Now … watch JV finish the tart here:
Also, note that the cooking times are dependent on the size of tart that you’re making. The small tart featured here took about 10-15 minutes to blind-bake, and then an additional 20 minutes or so to bake until the custard was set up. Larger, thicker tarts will obviously take longer.
Please comment below if you have any questions about this recipe! Enjoy!
Happy New Year, everyone! We thought we’d kick off 2013 by talking about one of our favorite ingredients: the potato. And if you’ve ever joined us for our Sunday Brunch, chances are you’ve had our tater tots. Customers are constantly stopping at the kitchen counter to ask how the tots are made and what exactly makes them so good compared to others. The secret: cooking the potatoes in a very specific way, which yields a flavorful result and crispy outer crust.
Our executive chef, JV, explains how it’s done:
“The thing that I like the most about potatoes is that they never stop being productive. They’re like the vegetable equivalent of the egg. There are hundreds of known ways to cook them and I still find it exciting to contemplate new ones. Also, as with eggs, the time and temperature at which you cook them greatly affects the outcome. You can cook an egg at 145 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes and come out with a completely different result than if you shave off a few degrees and add a few minutes. It’s neither a recipe nor a ratio — it’s a result. And even if it looks gross and tastes like shit, it’s a building block for something else — I promise.
Same goes for potatoes. You can end up with some gloppy, gluey mess (which is what, hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid after reading this) and understand something about potatoes and how they like to be treated. We figured out a while ago that cooking potatoes a couple of times, each time at a higher temperature, yields the most pleasing results. We always blanched our cut potatoes in hot oil first and then fried them a second time in really hot oil for crispy french fries, but I never really thought about why. The blanching seems to pull out most of the moisture so that the second cooking (the hot frying) could just concentrate on crisping up the exterior without all of that moisture ruining the crust. But what’s really going on is that we are using gentle heat to break down that starch that could eventually cause a problem, and then more aggressive heat to break down the remaining cells without any danger of the starch bunching up on us. Pretty lame and unscientific explanation; these guys can probably explain it way better: Harold McGee and Ideas in Food.
So, we started thinking about all of our potato dishes this way. At this point, almost four years later, there isn’t a potato in our kitchen that doesn’t get cooked at least twice. It’s a huge pain in the ass, taking the temperature of every single potato, but it does yield some tasty results. Like our Nightwood tots. Now, just to clarify, we are talking about your everyday, high-starch, russet potatoes. They are the workhorse in our kitchen. We love our little red-skinned new potatoes and German butterballs, but russets store the best, and they’re also available with consistent quality year round.”
NOTE: please only fry these things if you have a heavy bottomed, deep pot. They cause the oil to bubble up quite a bit, and we don’t want anyone getting hurt!
:: INGREDIENTS ::
- 2-3 large russet potatoes
- Canola oil
:: PREPARATION ::
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roast potatoes until they reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees F.
- Let them cool to room temperatures and then refrigerate them overnight.
- The next day, peel them and then grate with a box grater. Season lightly with salt.
- Use an ice cream scoop to form little balls (you gotta really jam it in there!)
- Put the balls on a baking sheet and freeze overnight.
:: TO FRY ::
- Heat a few inches of the canola oil in a REALLY DEEP, BIG POT to 350 degrees F.
- Using a big slotted spoon, gently lower the balls straight from the freezer into the hot oil.
- Let them fry for a few minutes until they are golden brown.
- Carefully remove and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Season with salt.
- Once more — BE CAREFUL!
So, now you know the secret behind our tots. It might be a two-day process, but the end result is definitely worth the extra bit of effort. And if you don’t feel like making them at home, grab a few friends and come in for brunch (we’re open for brunch every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)
… And you could even take some tots home with you :)