One of my all time favorite chefs is Yotam Ottolenghi. His recipes are always simple and incredible.
Ottolenghi is a British-Israeli restauranteur who uses heavy Mediterranean influences in his cooking. Mediterranean food is by far my favorite cuisine because it's packed with complex spices and herbs, fresh ingredients, and spot-on flavor pairings. I've never walked away from a Med. meal dissatisfied. And I've never met a recipe by Ottolenghi that I didn't just love. If you don't own any of his cookbooks, I highly suggest you change that ASAP. I've linked some of his most popular books, and ones I'm sure you'll recognize, below. They'd make great holiday gifts, too!
Last week my mother-in-law pulled his book Plenty off of my bookcase and it had me inspired to go back through it myself. I flipped open to his Surprise Tatin and it hit me as a perfect brunch dish for the holidays. Maybe for a day-after-Christmas brunch, or for New Years Day. You could make it ahead of time so that you just pop it in the oven with you need it. Just store with tightly sealed plastic wrap in the fridge for a day or two.
Don't Make My Mistake. You know my thing... #easyrecipes. I could probably go off on a tangent here to explain why this is important to me, but the point is I want to share recipes that taste and look amazing but take minimal mental and physical effort. So when Ottolenghi asked for puff pastry in his recipe I debated sharing this with you. Seemingly easy enough, puff pastry comes frozen and ready to use. My qualm with it is that "ready to use" does not equal easy to use. I even debated making Mimi's Pie Crust because I genuinely thought that making a dough from scratch would be easier than working with puff pastry. But it's a tatin so I went with it anyway. And you know what? I got impatient and couldn't separate the layers well enough. The pastry dough was too thick, even after rolling it thin, and didn't well cook in the middle. It didn't give me a flakey and light crust like puff pastry should. I got hints of it on the edges where the pastry cooked perfectly and the texture was spot on. It confirms of course that puff pastry is the way to go, but make it easy on yourself.
- My advice to you is this: Unless you are a puff pastry pro, buy the single sheet puff pastry option in the frozen food section. I've made the adjustment for this in the recipe, so that it really is a #easyrecipe.
A few more notes...
- The aged goat cheese. You want a semi-hard cheese that's not as hard as say, parmesan, but not as soft as a chèvre. Take a look at the photos below to see the ideal texture. Ask your cheesemonger for what they have. Whole Foods will likely have what you want.
- The caramel. It can burn quickly, stir constantly and take it off the heat immediately after it starts to bubble and blend together. It's really not hard to make it just takes a little bit of attention to insure you don't have to start over. And if it hardens before you can pour it over the tatin (which will likely happen), Ottolenghi suggests you just break pieces off and scatter it here and there. The only reason I'm pouring it over in the photos below is because I wanted the look of it pouring, and guess what? It took two tries/batches to get it off quickly enough. Don't lose heart if yours hardens. It's normal.
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp, plus extra for drizzling over the tomatoes and for the pan olive oil
- 1 lb new potatoes, skins on
- 1 lb large onion, thinly sliced
- 3 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 oregano sprigs
- 5 oz aged goat's cheese, sliced
- 1 single sheet puff pastry