Diving in: Paper Chef #5
So it’s the day before we get Belly-Timber up and running when I spring the notion of Paper Chef on the cook. He’s all over it. He says, let’s dive in, feet first and make this our introduction to the food blogging world. (He’s a little crazy that way.)
Before we even know what the ingredients are, he’s talking meatloaf. (This, because he’s been craving meatloaf for days.) I suggest that perhaps he should hold that thought — after all, if we’d been around last month, he would have made a pomegranate and chocolate meatloaf and… Well, actually he’d probably figure out a way to make that work, but even so, I felt it best to convince him that he should at least wait for the ingredients list.
As soon as we see the list — goat cheese, sherry vinegar, prosciutto, green garlic — he’s talking pizza. For about five minutes. Then the brainstorm hits. A new creation, half quiche, half frittata. That’s it! We’ll make a Quittata!
Now, on to the ingredients. First thing to mention, we’re on an island. What this means is we’ve got two supermarkets, and one tiny little gourmet shop. No butchers, no specialty ethnic groceries, and our farmer’s market doesn’t start till later this month. Fortunately, this first time out, our only stumbling block was the green garlic. So, because I was endlessly indecisive at the market, I opted for a trio of replacements: regular garlic, shallots, and green onions. The prosciutto, I should add, was packaged, because, well, that’s the only way we can get it here. Fortunately for us, a single 3 ounce package gave us just the amount we needed.
Second thing to mention: the kitchen. We’re cooking in my parents’ kitchen these days, which means we’re in a kitchen designed by People Who Don’t Like To Cook. (Yes, they exist. Just ask my mom.) No worries. Improvisation and space management (of a space the size of a postage stamp) is what we’re all about these days.
So, on with the recipe!
Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Quittata with Sherry Gastrique
For the Quittata:
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 small shallot
- 1 sheet of puff pastry (depending on size of pan — we used a cast iron skillet for our experiment)
- Approximately 4 tomatoes; we used 1 Roma and 3 orange vine tomatoes
- One dozen eggs
- 3 ounces prosciutto, sliced very thin
- Approximately 6 ounces of semi-soft goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon Fresh thyme
- Fresh basil
- 1/4 cup (or so) of chopped green onion for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- As needed for sautéing:
- Olive oil
For the Sherry Gastrique:
- 1 cup cream sherry
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Butter, as needed
- Cut puff pastry to shape of pan bottom.
- Place pastry on a sheet pan between two sheets of parchment, and cover with another pan. This prevents the pastry from puffing too high, and still allows for a flaky texture.
- Place pastry in the oven at 375F and set the timer for 5 minutes.
- Beat 6 eggs. Add 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.v
- After timer goes off, remove the weight and top layer of parchment and bake two more minutes till pastry is slightly cooked.
- Peel garlic and slice. Slice tomatoes & shallots.
- Place puff pastry in baking pan. Smear sides of pan with butter.
- Sweat garlic & shallots in olive oil and butter. Lightly sauté, but DO NOT CARAMELIZE THEM.
- Fill pan with first six eggs. Lay in tomato slices (about 1/2 of them) and most of the goat cheese in medium-sized chunks.
- Lay strips of prosciutto on top, and try to make a good seal between first and second layer of eggs.
- Beat second six eggs. Add garlic and shallots, and 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, then pour over prosciutto.
- Lay remaining tomato slices in the eggs, and crumble in remaining goat cheese. Place basil leaves on top.
- Bake in the oven at 375F.
- Set timer for 30 minutes and pour yourself a glass of sherry.
- Check after 30 minutes to make sure the center of the quittata is cooked. If the eggs are still soft, place pan back in oven and check every 10 minutes or so, until the eggs are cooked. (Our total bake time ended up at 45 minutes.)
- Remove from oven to cool a few minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the gastrique
Pour 1 cup sherry into a sauce pan and reduce by half.
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- Combine with sherry and reduce till slightly gelatinous. Mount with butter if needed, to mellow tartness.
- Cut quittata, drizzle gastrique on top and garnish with finely chopped green onions.
Serves six to eight.
Chopper Dave sez:
This recipe was actually remarkably simple to prepare and it had a very pleasing flavor. Basil and tomato always complement each other and the goat cheese went perfectly with that. The sauce on top of it added a sweet punch to the savory flavors of the herbs and prosciutto.
Mrs D sez:
This is like taking all the things that annoy me about quiches and frittatas, throwing them out the window, and creating a new dish that gives me the best of both worlds. One thing that worked very well: keeping the tomatoes, the goat cheese, and the garlic in larger slices. Instead of a scramble where everything blends together too much, each bite has a different flavor profile. In one bite I get a nice big slice of garlic. The next bite is mostly goat cheese. The next is all about basil and tomato.
But it’s the lightness of the puff pastry and the zing of the sherry gastrique that knocks this one out the park. We’ll definitely be making this one again!