Tag Archives: Bacon

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Tart

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Tart

Shrimp and Goat Cheese Tart

Our little tart here was inspired by Five and Spice’s beet and fig tart (which we have also made, and it is fantastic as well).  While eating the aforementioned figgy tart, I had this mini revelation:  I love savory tarts!  I also made this unofficial pledge to make and eat more of them.  The crust is the foundation upon which all else is built and Emily (at the above mentioned Five and Spice) rocked out an excellent crust recipe.   From there, you have seemingly infinite topping possibilities.  Granted, one cannot help but mention the odd similarity between the tarts proposed here and my other favorite food – pizza.  Be that as it may, I’ll not be drowning any tart in mozzarella and the two crusts are decidedly different.

These are the Ingredients...minus a thing or two

These are the Ingredients…minus a thing or two

The first savory tart to come of my unofficial pledge was a shrimp and goat cheese tart.  My wife came up with this one, and it was wonderful.  I’ve recreated it below so that we might once again joyously devour it.  When my wife decided to make this tart, we were out of goat cheese.  Unfortunately, the selection of quality cheeses at the nearest grocery store leaves something to be desired, so, we ended up getting a goat cheese that as it turned out was not crumble-able.  This ended up working out rather well since we were able to spread a nice layer onto the crust which had the benefit of allowing the cheese to be more evenly dispersed.  We were also able to avoid the occasional mouth-full of chalky goat cheese from a crumble left a bit too large.  This might not bother everyone, but it was a slight issue I had with the beet and fig edition.  So for this time around, I’m using that cheese again.  Feel free to crumble, if you like.

The quality of the shrimp played a big role, I’m sure.  10/15 count wild caught, flash frozen Gulf Shrimp.  These are very delicious.  A pre-cooked cocktail shrimp is not going to do this justice.  Just sayin’.

Pulse the Butter into the Flour

Pulse the Butter into the Flour

Alright, here’s how you work the crust.

1-1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp  Kosher Salt

6 T  Butter, Cold (the quality of your butter does matter, particularly with baked goods)

1 T  Distilled White Vinegar

3-4 T  Ice Cold Water

In a food processor, pulse together the flour and the salt.  Remove the butter from the refrigerator and cut into pieces (8-12) and add them to the food processor.  Process until there are no more chunks of butter and the flour reaches a coarse texture similar to corn meal.  With the machine still going, add in the vinegar and then, 1 tablespoon at a time, add the water until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

The Dough Ball has Formed

The Dough Ball has Formed

Remove from the machine and reform it into a ball then press it down to form a thick disc.  Wrap that in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

And that Wraps up the Dough...Ha Ha

And that Wraps up the Dough…Ha Ha

On with the tart:

While the dough is chillin’, we prep the rest, starting with shelling and deveining the shrimp.  Give them a chop, 3-4 bit sizes pieces per shrimp (give or take, our shrimp were very large).

Bacon and Garlic

Bacon and Garlic

9  Shrimp, 10/15 count is what we used

4  Thick Cut slices of Bacon, cut into cubes or small strips

4- 5  Cloves Garlic, roughly minced

2-3 tsp.  Fresh minced Rosemary

2.5 oz  Goat Cheese

Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Saute the bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon keeping that fatty goodness in the pan.  Turn the heat down slightly, wait a minute, then add the garlic.  Stir it around constantly for 30 seconds to a minute, careful not to let it burn.  Next add the shrimp and rosemary.  Cook for another 30 seconds or so.  We want the shrimp to start taking on a bit of color, but not to fully cook.  Turn off heat and set aside while you proceed with the crust’s next step.

Roll it out

Roll it out

Remove the crust from the frigo.  Roll it out on a lightly floured surface in a rough circular shape to about a 1/4 inch thickness.  You can certainly rustic this up a bit more and decorate it on a baker’s peel and bake it on a pizza stone.  Or use a tart pan like we did.  (Feel free to prick the crust all over with fork, pre-bake for 10 minutes or so, just before it starts to color and then continue.  I didn’t do this this time, but I probably will next time. )

Spread the goat cheese on the dough.  Now, fold over the edges, or roll them if you prefer.

Sprinkle the bacon on top of the cheese and then the shrimp mixture.  Pop it into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes (less time if you have pre-baked the crust) until the crust is a nice golden brown.

Ready to Bake

Ready to Bake

Salad Fixin's

Salad Fixin’s

For the salad:

A couple handfuls of Greens: Arugula, Spinach, Mache, Watercress, or a Spring Greens Mix, etc.

Juice of half a Lemon

2-3 Tablespoons  Olive Oil

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper until somewhat emulsified.

When the tart is done baking, let it cool for a few minutes.  Drizzle a little olive oil on top followed by a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  If your balsamic is not a nice and syrupy vinegar, then reduce it down a bit in a small sauce pan.

That's the Balsamic We Used

That’s the Balsamic We Used

Toss the greens in the lemon vinaigrette and arrange on the tart.  It is easier to arrange the greens once you’ve plated the tart.  You could also serve the salad on the side just note that the lemony flavor of the greens adds a brightness to the tart that really ties the whole thing together.

Enjoy!

Encore!

Encore!

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Late Summer Veggie Tart

Our son’s school was having a harvest festival / potluck last weekend, and after more than two weeks of traveling around the country, we had accumulated a bunch of veggies from our Grant Family Farms CSA share.  This was a great opportunity to move through some produce.  It tasted great and there wasn’t a bit left to take home.

Summer Veggie Tart

Crust:

2 Cups Flour (I subbed in .5 cup whole wheat flour)

1 Egg

Pinch of Salt

8 T Butter at room temperature

Cold Water

*************

Vinaigrette:

1 bunch Parsley

1 large Clove Garlic

2 sprigs Thyme

1/4 cup Olive Oil

2-3 T Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

*************

Filling:

1/2 Cup Bacon, chopped

2 Yellow Squash (Or preferably a mix of yellow squash and zucchini)

1 Eggplant

1 Onion

1 tsp Thyme

3 T Bacon fat (or olive oil)

Salt and Pepper

2 Medium Tomatoes

1 Red Bell Pepper

Fresh Basil for garnish

For the crust, combine the flour and salt together in a bowl.  Stir in an egg, then add the butter and quickly mix it in with your hands until the flour is of more or less even coarseness.  Then add cold water by the tablespoon until you can gather the dough into a ball, about 3 T.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, lightly press into a disc shape and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Now add the parsley, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic to a mortar and pestle (or a food processor) and grind to a saucy paste.

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Lightly grease a 10-12 inch tart plate with butter or olive oil.  Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface.

Pat it into the tart plate and pre-bake for about 10 minutes, until it just starts to color.  Then set it on a wire rack to cool.

Turn the oven down to 400 F.

Thinly slice the onion, squash/zucchini, and eggplant.

In a large skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon stirring occasionally.

Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and pour off excess bacon fat.  Add the onion and cook until translucent about 5 minutes.  Add the eggplant, squash and thyme saute until the veggies are tender.

Thinly slice the tomatoes.  Stem and seed the bell pepper and sliver.

On the crust, spread the parsley vinaigrette and when the veggies are ready, add them to the crust pressing in evenly.

Sprinkle with the bacon.  Top with the tomato slices and red pepper slivers in a nice decorative fashion.  Bake for about 30 minutes until the top starts browning and the tips of the pepper blacken slightly.

Allow to cool slightly.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!


Chocolate Dipped Bacon aka Au Chocolat #2

Second Course – “BCC” aka Bacon Chocolate Cheese

I’m in with those that believe bacon can pretty much make anything better.  Chocolate is no exception.

I took some inspiration for this second amuse from Vosges Chocolat.  They make a bacon chocolate truffle and bar which are both quite yummy.  They also have a Taleggio truffle which, admittedly, I have not yet tried, but I’m sure it is yummy as well.

I wanted the bacon to act as a spoon of sorts with one good bite of chocolate, bacon, and cheese.  When you take a piece of bacon out of the frying pan, it is malleable, as it cools, it hardens.  So, I got this idea that I could shape it.  I was able to get the bacon into a kind of dramatic-y wave.  Not exactly what I had imagined it was going to look like, but for some reason this is the shape I just started making, so I went with it.

We had one turn out kind of like a scorpion tail, it even got a little accidental dip of chocolate on the tip of the “tail”.  That was my favorite one.

You’ll need:

4 or so pieces of Double Smoked Bacon

3-4 ounces of Bittersweet Chocolate (70%) I used Callebaut chocolate

A chunk of Taleggio Cheese

Fennel Fronds for garnish

Fry up the bacon.  I went with a double smoked bacon from Whole Foods because I thought the extra smoky quality would offset the sweetness of the chocolate and lend a slight bit more emphasis to the savory side of things.

Next came the shaping.  Shaping the bacon on its side is about the only way to accomplish this without using a mold of sorts.  Establish the bottom which is to be dipped in the chocolate.  Try to flatten it out.  You want to have a stable base for it to stand up on.  With the arch, you want the top to curve just a bit over the base which should help distribute the weight evenly to both the front and back.

(Once set, I tried to stand them up to prove to the naysayers that they would indeed stand…and they just fell over.  I, thinking quickly on my feet, pointed out that once dipped in chocolate the extra weight at the base would allow them to be free standing.  Which, of course, had totally been calculated into the entire design.  Luckily, they did stand with the chocolate in place.)

Now that the bacon is firm and holding its shape, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or a metal bowl over a small pot of gently simmering water.

Dip the base end of the bacon into the chocolate, coating top and bottom.  Like me, you may need to enlist the help of a spoon.  Stand these upright to dry on wax paper.

Slice the cheese into smallish rectangles and place onto the dry chocolate.  Garnish with a fennel frond. The fennel adds the right burst of color and slight anise aromatic, subtly connecting to the Truffles course.

One more frond to go.


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