From Too Many Chefs -

December 15, 2005
Balsamic Glazed Garlic and Shallot Tart

At last, a tart as black as my cold, cold, villainous heart!

This balsamic glazed garlic and shallot tart was one of the two main course tarts from a dinner party we threw this last weekend. I'll be presenting some of the dishes from it to you over the next few days.

The amazing thing about this dinner was that it was an entirely vegetarian Italian dinner (said the Scando-/ Anglo-/ Scando-/ Dutch boy), but had no pasta and no tomatoes. Can such a thing be? Why yes, of course it can.

This was one of two entrees (along with an eggplant and artichoke heart tart). Why two entrees? Well, I wasn't so sure this recipe would work and I wanted a backup in case it failed. I think it succeeded wonderfully, but I did notice that some guests greedily devoured their slice, while others seemed to concentrate on the other tart. It's one of those flavors, if you know what I mean. One inclined to provoke passion one way or the other.

I use elephant garlic to make the pieces match the size of the shallots and to get a milder garlic flavor. The sharp bite of garlic is muted in this preparation, as are the shallots. All that's left behind is a set of complex onion and garlic family flavors to play against the brown sugar and balsamic glaze.

It's a strange tart, I'll grant you. Make it and judge it after you've had a bite. You'll either be chucking the whole lot in the garbage or hiding it from your guests so you can eat the whole thing yourself. Or you could hide it and just TELL your guests you chucked it into the trash...

Balsamic Glazed Garlic and Shallot Tart

3/4 lb. shallots, peeled, but not cut
3/4 lb. elephant garlic (about a head and a half), cloves peeled and the rough attachment point trimmed, but otherwise whole
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
scant 1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon or thyme, if available, dried if not
1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 9" tart crust - I used this one from our kale and summer squash quiche recipe. Prebaked and ready to fill. You could use a frozen crust, but thaw it out and prebake it first.

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Sautee the shallots and garlic until they take on color.

Sprinkle the sugar on top, add the balsamic, water, and herbs, and sautee, stirring frequently to cover the vegetablesas they carmelize until both the shallots and garlic cloves are fork tender. Taste and add salt and pepper as you see fit.

Sprinkle the parmesan over the tart crust, then spread the skillet contents evenly over the crust. Bake for 20 minutes or so until the crust and contents are beautifully colored and the tart is hot all the way through and fragrant.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnishing with a dollop of creme fraiche or garlic cream would be dramatic.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at December 15, 2005 7:02 AM | TrackBack

Nine AM and my mouth is watering over a garlic and shallot tart. Good grief! But that's nothing new, since I often eat dinner for breakfast and breakfast foods at night...

Posted by Monica on December 15, 2005 at 9:23 AM

Monica, would it help you to not feel weird if I revealed that I ate the one leftover piece for breakfast the next day?

Posted by barrett on December 15, 2005 at 9:25 AM

this was absolutely delicious, something I will definitely trying again at home. Thanks for posting the recipe!

Posted by paul on December 15, 2005 at 9:55 AM

Thanks Paul! I know you really liked the look of that last bite with the one shallot that was very "concentric".

Posted by barrett on December 15, 2005 at 10:19 AM

My first thoughts when seeing the photo and reading the first paragraph:
Whoa that looks good, but I think that I would slice the shallots and garlic.
I continued to read through to the end, and you are adamant about not cutting. What do you think would be altered in taste by slicing?

Posted by Alisa on December 16, 2005 at 2:53 AM

By not slicing you get a couple of things - first, the warm squish of the shallot or garlic clove in your mouth which is difficult to describe pleasantly, but which is really quite nice. Second, you get a wonderful look to the tart. the shallots in particular look fantastic glazed.

I thought about slicing them myself, but decided against it. I'm glad I didn't do it.

Posted by barrett on December 16, 2005 at 7:12 AM

Now see, I thought that the point of not slicing of them was to have big garlic bombs on the tart. It could be that I was influenced by the private knowledge of who was on your guest of whom was, I think, fed garlic in his baby bottle and has never looked back since.

In fact, Barrett, could those who hated and those who loved be divided into two groups, Garlic Obssessives and Normal People? (Note that I put myself firmly in the former category!)

Posted by Meg in Paris on December 16, 2005 at 7:48 AM

The garlic "bombs" were nice, but not bombs so much as mellow flavor bites. The heat takes the edge off. It's not like biting into a raw clove of garlic dipped in salt before you take a shot of icy vodka.

Actually, I liked the garlic a lot, but the shallots rocked my world. They were the really flavorful participants in the tart.

Posted by barrett on December 16, 2005 at 10:28 AM