Sunday, June 8, 2008

Onion Tarts with Scallop Carpaccio

This recipe is from Alain Rayé's cookbook La Régalade, a no-fuss book that focuses on french bistro food. What I love about this book is the evident passion this Vancouver based chef has for food. The book is divided by season so that you're only cooking with the freshest ingredients and only cooking for what is appropriate for that season; a beef bourguignon in summer is a no-no. Being a Frenchman, every recipe comes with a suggested wine pairing. I personally can't wait for the day where cookbooks will have suggested beer pairings.

The recipe for these tarts didn't quite turn out like I would have wanted them to. The general idea is great. Caramelize onions in olive oil and thyme, arange on top of thawed puff pastry squares, bake till fluffy. You then arrange a layer of very thinly sliced scallops (which is made possible by partially freezing the scallops before slicing) on top and warm the whole. Given that these are supposed to be carpaccio scallops - meaning raw - the purpose is only to warm them up. Cooking them defeats the purpose and the texture. As you might notice in the above photo, I made the mistake of cooking them. My girlfriend isn't a fan of raw anything. But she hasn't had beef carpaccio with truffle oil and capers yet....pure yum.

As always, I'm persistent in my failure as a pastry guy and the puff pastry ended up mushy and didn't rise. I think they should cook for awhile without the caramelized onions on top. It seems to keep the pastry down plus gives off unwanted moisture. But all in all this is a great simple appetizer. It lets all the ingredients shine. So next time I will definitely not cook the scallops. Raw and chewy.

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