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.