|Tomato, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarte Tatin|
|Sundays in August are practically spacious at Marché Raspail!|
The last 2 weeks of August in Paris are a special time. Not if you're a visitor eager to experience Paris in all it's hustle and bustle, because there is none. Most Parisians are gone for 'Les Vacances", which translates not as "A vacation" or "MY vacation" but literally "THE vacation". That precious time of year in every true Parisian's life when they pack up, abandon their work, close down their apartment for up to a month (!!!) and head out for the countryside, the beach or an exotic island paradise someplace warm. Leaving Paris to the rest of us who are pleased as punch to have the terraces of what remaining open cafes there are (and the empty streets) to ourselves.
|Delicious 'cocktail' tomatoes waiting to be transformed|
The Marchés have a similar exodus. Vendors of produce purchased from wholesalers at Rungis vanish for 'les vacances'. It's the small producers and growers who tend to stick around to service their regulars (who go and then return from holiday) and pick up some new regulars because their 'guy' is on holiday and the stand has been taken over by bedspreads from Provence, African masks or Moroccan pottery. I really think Summer visitors to Paris get the totally wrong idea of Parisian Marchés - but then, I digress.
The Bio (Organic) market at Raspail is held only on Sundays. It is a small market, but here you will find a beautiful and large selection of certified organic produce, meats, eggs and dairy products as well as breads, pastries, English muffins, American style muffins, soaps and scents.
|All organic, Sundays only|
|The line for these amazing potato, onion and cheese galettes is often very long|
|La Cucina Italian Vendor with home made Organic Pasta and other great stuff|
It would be an understatement to say that La Cucina has become a 'Raspail' favorite. Since visiting family in Puglia, we've developed quite the Italian habit: fresh mozzarella, coppa and salume (all of which can generally be found in the fridge). The variety of Organic Italian groceries, meats and cheeses offered by this charming family is vast considering the size of their stand and the prices are better than you'll find most anywhere in town. Lines here tend to be long.
|The Bio bread stand has lots of choice including many wheat free breads|
The variety and prices for produce vary from stand to stand, so do walk the length of the market checking out what's available before making your purchases; a stroll I'm pretty sure you'll find more of a pleasure than a chore.
Now, back to that Tomato Tarte Tatin. The original recipe calls for puff pastry, fewer onions and is cheese-less. I made it exactly as written and while perfectly acceptable, I'm just not crazy about store bought puff pastry under something as potentially juicy as tomatoes - it gets soggy too quickly for my taste. After a few more or less successful tries, here is my favorite version:
|freshly flipped out of the pan - notice there is NO juice to make the crust soggy|
Tomato, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarte Tatin
Pre-heat your oven to 375 F /190 C - place a rack as close to the bottom of the oven as possible.
Little tomatoes - Enough to snugly cover the bottom of your 9" or 10" 'Tatin' pan (about 2 lbs/ 1 kilo) Stems removed, rinsed and dried
4 - 5 Sweet Onions
4 ounces / 114 grams fresh goat cheese - cut into 1/2 inch pieces (best done when
cheese is cold)
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
fat pinch each of rosemary and thyme (preferably fresh) leaves removed from stem
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
Your favorite, all butter, savory crust
Fresh Basil for garnish
1) Make your crust, set it aside so that it "relaxes"
3) Put 2 tablespoon butter and all the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the Rosemary and Thyme. When the butter is foamy and you can smell the herbs, add all the onions, salt and pepper. Stir. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown (caramelized) throughout. This should take a good 10 minutes, maybe longer. Don't be impatient as the flavor you are creating here will make all the difference. Adjust the salt and pepper (be sure to first taste your goat cheese for saltiness, or lack of it)
4) Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of sugar in the pan you will be using for the Tatin (can be a 9" or 10" oven proof skillet) over medium heat. When melted and frothy, add your tomatoes and allow them to cook a bit. Shake the pan gently to coat the tomatoes, but DO NOT STIR. You don't want to break or crush them. After about 3 or 4 minutes, remove pan from heat.
5) Roll out your crust to the inner circumference of your pan. It's okay if the crust is a little thicker than usual.
6) Place the caramelized onions evenly over the tomatoes, scatter the goat cheese over the onions then place your crust on top. Cut 4 'steam' lines in the top of the crust.
|Before the crust|
7) Place pan on the bottom most rack in your pre-heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.
|Fresh from the oven, waiting to be flipped|
8) Remove the Tatin from the oven, allow to cool about 10 minutes. Cover the pie with a plate large enough to hold it flat - carefully flip the pie over onto the plate - Voila!
If some of the tomatoes stick to the mold, no worries, just use a knife to carefully remove them from the pan then put them back in place on the pie.
Garnish with fresh 'Chiffonade' of Basil leaves.
This Tatin makes a nice 'Entrée' (starter in France) or delightful lunch served with a simple, vinaigrette dressed, green salad. I recommend a crisp Rosé, 'no oak' Chardonnay or something bubbly (as in water with lemon) as accompaniment.
View Marche "Bio" Raspail in a larger map
Marché 'Bio' Raspail
Sundays 9am to 1:30pm
Blvd Raspail between Rue du Cerche-Midi and Rue de Rennes
Metro: Rennes (line 12) or Sevres-Babylon (line 10)
View Marche "Bio" Raspail in a larger map