Friday, March 21, 2014

FFwD - Scallop and onion tartes fines


Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is “Scallop and onion tartes fines” – puff pastry tarts topped with caramely slow-cooked onions and slices of sweet-briny scallops.




Around here scallops are called “Jakobsmuscheln” and the French call them “coquilles saint-jacques” – both names translate to “James mussels”, making reference to the fact that the scallop shell is the traditional emblem of  Saint James, and is popular with pilgrims on the Way of Saint James to the apostle's shrine at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (Spain). Medieval Christians making the pilgrimage to his shrine often wore a scallop shell symbol on their hat or clothes. What a nice name for such a delicious shellfish.




During our recent trip to Antwerp, Belgium, we visited a beautifully renovated Chapel and marveled at this colorful church window with a picture of Saint James wearing a cloak adorned with two Saint James mussel shells.

Onto today´s interesting recipe, which was inspired by puff pastry tarts served at Yves Camborde´s world-famous Paris bistro "Le Comptoir".




There are a number of different elements to these tarts that are best served while still warm.




To make the base for these tarts, you start off by cutting circles from ready-made puff pastry and baking them in the oven for about 15 minutes with a baking sheet to weigh them down. Dorie´s recipe calls for circles with about six inches in diameter, I went with three inches and served these tarts as appetizers.




For the topping you cook some bacon until it is crisp and then cut it into slices or cubes. Then you caramelize some onions (I used French shallots instead) for about twenty minutes and add the bacon to the onions. You top the puff-pastry rounds with the onion mixture and arrange thinly sliced scallops on top. Add some freshly ground black pepper, sprinkle with some lovely sea salt, and drizzle with some really good-quality olive oil. Leave the tarts for three to four minutes in the oven – just long enough to warm the scallops.




Scallops are an expensive but delicious shellfish with a delicate taste, available in a range of sizes. Scallops have two fan-shaped shells which contain rounds of firm white flesh, sometimes with the edible cream and orange coral (or roe) attached. Scallops can be steamed, fried or grilled but should be cooked gently and only for a very short time or their delicate flavor and texture will be spoiled. Take care not to over-cook them, they should be served as soon as they are firm and opaque. So the short time that these tarts stay in the oven is just perfect, five minutes were just enough to warm the scaollops in the most gentle of ways and bring out their natural salty-sweetness.




We all really liked this recipe – young taste testers included. The combination of the sweet caramelized shallots, the saltiness of the bacon, the crispy puff-pastry base and the tender slices of scallops were absolutely delicious – certainly a recipe worth making again.




To see how much the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group enjoyed today´s recipe, please click here.

If you happen to own Dorie Greenspan´s book “Around my French Table”, you will find the recipe for “Scallop and onion tartes fines” on pages 168-69.



60 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous stained glass window! And your tartes look darned tasty, too!!! Have a lovely weekend, Andrea!

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    1. Liz, thank you for the nice words - the tarts were delicious and the stained glass window very pretty - this was such a nice, short post to write.

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  2. What a stunning church window, Andrea! Your tartes are perfect looking, and as alway your photography and presentation are gorgeous! We really enjoyed these, glad they were a winner for you, too! Enjoy your weekend, my friend!

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    1. Kathy, I have not seen too many church windows with a depiction of Saint James, so when we came across this one in Antwerp, I just knew I would need a picture for on eof my posts...and since this was such a fabulous recipe, it was just perfect timing, I guess. Thank you for the kind words, dear friend - so glad that you liked this recipe as well.

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  3. This is such a beautiful post, especially the photos. So, so pretty! Your tartes look perfect. I'm glad to hear that all the tasters enjoyed it. I did too, especially the onion/bacon topping. Have a wonderful weekend, Andrea!

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    1. Betsy, the onion-bacon topping remonded me of some of the other tarts I sometimes bake - we love that combination together with a nice puff pastry or other savory tart shells. The scallops were equally delightful - what an interesting and tasty combination. Thank you so much for your kind words!

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  4. What a unique way to serve puff pastry! I'll have to give this recipe a try. (And I love the stained glass!)

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    1. Beth, thank you very much - the church window was in suhc a wonderfully renovated chapel in Antwerp - I fell in love with that peaceful place when we visited.

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  5. The delicate garnish is a lovely touch! Wonderful photos!

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    1. Thank you, Trevor - I used some of my rosemary blossoms as garnish.

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  6. Well done. You almost made me want to try them again.

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    1. Rose, thanks - we loved them and I will definitely make them again.

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  7. I love the tiny flowers you chose to garnish your tarts. Such an elegant presentation! And so lovely that you had a photo that was a perfect accompaniment for this post. It must have been marvelous to visit that church - so much history and beauty combined.

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    1. Teresa, these tiny violet flowers are the blossoms from my rosemary bush - it has been so unseasonally warm around here that all the herbs seem to think that is summer time...thank you so very much for your wonderful compliment. So nice to hear that you enjoyed this post.

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  8. I love the history! I knew none of that - so thank you for the enlightenment. I do not eat scallops, so this one I cannot quite imagine, but you have surely done a stunning job with the food and with the instruction. Well done, my friend!

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    1. Mille grazie, cara Adri! We do not eat scallops often either but I have found the most wonderful fish monger and these were unbelievably delicious and fresh scallops, so I went for them and did not regret it.

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  9. I did not know the story of St James! I was just wondering the other day why they were known as coquilles St. Jacques or as I read them, noisettes St. Jacques. I learn something new every time! These look so fabulous, Andrea! Perfect mouthfuls and all those flavours, it must really bring the dish together. I'm a sucker for puff pastry so I'd love these any which way. Take care, my dear. Hope you're having a great weekend. xx

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    1. Nazneen, well my husband went to Santiago de Compostela once and we have been interested in the history of The Way of Saint James and the pilgrims ever since - I could not resist making this wonderful story part of my blog post today - glad that you enjoyed it, dear friend!

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  10. Beautiful photos - and like Teresa, I love the flower garnish!

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    1. Thank ypu, Mardi - I appreciate your comment!

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  11. The connection to St. James and scallops is really interesting. I love how you weaved it into this post. Yours looks fabulous.

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    1. Diane, such a fun bit of history - I just cannot help myself when it comes to food history and the connection to foods that we enjoy today - but I kept it short and sweet this time! Thank you kindly for your comment!

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  12. What a lovely post! I didn't get to these this week, but yours look amazing! You may have had the best success - just beautiful!

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    1. Candy, thank you very much - if you get a chance to make these tartes fines, you will certainly not regret it - we just loved this recipe!

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  13. These look so delicious, Andrea. I love scallops, and am especially fond of the females. Did you know you can tell without the rose? The scallops are a light, creamy orange. So many people forgo them thinking they aren't "good" when, in fact, they are better! I like your ide of them as an appetizer and might even make them two inches! Liebe Grüße aus sonnigen Tucson. ~ David

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    1. Oh, and I forgot to say that I think your photos this post are particularly exquisite! Tchüß!

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    2. Dear David, thank you kindly - how nice of you to comment on my pictures!

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    3. Dear David, no, I did not know that but you know how much I love to learn new facts about food! Thank you for ponting that out to me! We do not eat that many scallops at our house but I do know that there are quite a few differences quality wise!
      Liebe Grüße aus Bonn - heute regnet es hier!

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  14. My mother walked most of the St. James' Path ("the way of Santiago") a few years back. It is definitely one of my bucket list items.

    I was going to ask if the little sprigs were lavender, but thanks for clearing up it was your flowering rosemary. It gives such a beautiful pop of color.

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    1. Adriana, how wonderful that your mother had a chance to walk the Saint James Way - and how nice of you to let me know - it is an experiene of a lifetime and if you ever get a chance to do the same, you should definitely go for it!

      The unseasonably warm weather forced the herbs into thinking it is summer - tons of rosemary blossoms in my garden.

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  15. Appetitliche kleine Kunstwerke, Andrea! Und eine schöne Idee, die Scallops in feine Scheiben zu schneiden, das gefällt mir viel besser als so ein ganzes Teil zu essen. Wunderschön, die Rosmarinbluete als i-Tüpfelchen.
    Hier sind nach dem harten Winter alle mediterrane Kräuter erfroren, es wird also kaum essbare Blüten aus dem Garten geben, ich fange wieder ganz klein im Kräuterbeet an, aber erst soll es am Dienstag wieder einen Blizzard geben, man glaubt es kaum....
    Dank für tolle Fotos eines eleganten Appetizers :-)

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    1. Liebe Wally, es ware so sommerlich warm hier in der letzten Zeit, dass die Kräuter zu denken scheinen es sei Sommer oder so...jedenfalls blüht mein Rosmarin wie verrückt und ich liebe die Blüten unedverwende sie gerne in meinem Essen. Schön, dass dir die Tartes so gut gefallen - sie sind wirklich gut angekommen hier und sind ziemlich einfach zu machen, sehen aber doch elegant aus. Und die in Scheibchen geschnittenen Jakobsmuscheln sind einfach schöner als ganze für diese Vorspeise!
      Danke für deinen lieben Kommentar - heute regnet es und es ist deutlich kühler geworden, also keine neuen Kräuterblüten...

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  16. A lovely post, Andrea, First, however, I was surprised when you said scallops were inexpensive. They are very pricey here in the states. Loved your history lesson, as always. The stained window, enchanting. Your photos are gorgeous. I must admit to being also surprised that the young ladies in your family liked this. I know they have very sophisticated palates but this is an appetizer for grown-ups, I would think. Good for them that they'd appreciate the good tastes. I read David's comment about the male/female scallops. One of my scallops (I bought a pound of them) was a creamy orangey color. Very apparent that it was different for all the rest. I thought it might be spoiled. Smelled it. Seemed fine. Since the scallops were so expensive, I didn't want to toss one so I ate it. Didn't notice a different taste but wasn't paying particular attention. Now I know. My goodness, you learn all sorts of things with the Kitchen Lioness!

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    1. Dear Mary, I had no idea about the female scallops either - I am always amazed at what I learn from my lovely fellow food bloggers as well. And, yes, the girls ate those appetizers, scallops and all - that is the main reason why I made these tarts into small appetizers with only two slices of scallops per tart. That seemed to work fine. Well "inexpensive" is relative - scallops are less pricey than I thought, especially when compared to other seafood that I find rather expensive. BUT, I did write "an expensive shellfish" not "inexpensive"...
      Glad we all seem to have enjoyed this recipe so much! And thank you for the kind comment!

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  17. Your tarts look so pretty - and I am loving the sunshine in which you took them! It was a grey, cool day here. I think I like "James' mussels" as an alternative name for scallops - I shall have to remember that and use it.

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    1. Gaye, thank you so much - the name for these mussels is wonderful, we believe, as wonderful as they taste.

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  18. Your little tarts look so elegant, love the little flowers from the rosemary. Beautiful post.

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    1. Cheri, thanks so much - elegant is always nice for appetizers - after all, we like pretty and delicious food on our plates.

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  19. Your post is so interesting and informative, thank you. Your tarts are gorgeous, the addition of the rosemary blossom makes it
    look so elegant. I agree with you that these should be smaller and served as an appetizer, much easier to eat. Have a great week.

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    1. Nana, thank you very much - appetizer-style was the way to go with these - perfect for the combination of flavors - if I may say so. And the younger taste testers would not have eaten them, had I made them bigger. So, we were all happy because we really liked them this way.

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  20. The perfect appetizer, I love scallops - my mother is visiting from New Zealand so we had planned to take her to the beach one day for fish and chips and of course some scallops!! Love your photos Andrea..

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    1. Karen, that´s exactly what we thought - perfect appetizer! How nice that your mum is visiting from New Zealand - hope you are having a smash of a time! And enjoy that delicious fresh seafood (I am a tad jealous here, but only in a really good way!).

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  21. Andrea doll, such lovely pics! A refreshing way to welcome Spring. I must try these tartlettes of yours. They look
    irresistible. And the rosemary flowers add such a bit of dainty to them.
    Hope your Monday is smooth. xoxo

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    1. Colette, the weather has been so unsaesonally warm around here - all my rosemary bushes are convinced that it is summer already. These tartlettes do taste wonderful - to our great surprise we enjoyed the combination of caramelized onions and shellfish.

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  22. I love scallops, love to have the delicious tart with a glass of white wine.

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  23. Your presentation was absolutely beautiful (as always) - the garnish was a lovely idea.
    We really enjoyed this recipe - I was surprised that it went over well with all of my taste testers.

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    1. Cher, same here - big surprise that we all liked this recipe so much - gotta love these delicious surprises.

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  24. These photos are simply stunning. STUNNING. Granted, your photos are always spectacular- but really, you just about take my breath away with the lighting and close ups. Gorgeous. The rosemary flowers and leaves are such a beautiful addition. Really striking. And I had no idea about the history of shellfish and St James, which is saying something since I have a father and son named James and am Christian- I really need to get my act together !! :) But luckily I have you there to fill me in on all this good stuff. Happy Spring !

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    1. Tricia, you are such a kind person! James is such a lovely name and so is Jakob - hope that I did not overdo it with my little history lesson about St. James but every time I look a those scallops, I have to think of the St. James´ Path.

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  25. I have a scallop addiction, Andrea, so this dish is for me. What beautiful presentation, worthy of the king of shellfish. Hope you are having a good week. (I can see you are having a delicious one!)

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    1. Hester, scallops are a rare treat at our house - kind of hard to find really good ones and they are on the expensive side - but we love them. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  26. WOW....WE ARE MESMERIZED BY THAT BEAUTIFUL GLASS PAINTING...WE ARE AMATEURS ON THE SUBJECT AND IT SEEMS LIKE A DREAM.....SO GLORIOUS...THOSE CUTE LITTLE TARTS ARE DELICIOUS,THANKS FOR THE INSPIRATION AND WARMTH OUR FRIEND...HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!!! :-)

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    1. Kumar, so very nice of you - glad that you enjoy this post and the picture of the glass window!

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  27. Your presentation is just wonderful, and your posts always makes me feel hungry no matter what the time is or how much food I have had before! have a great week ahead...

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    1. Kai, you are so very kind - thank you! I am quite happy to read that you enjoy the photography!

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