Chicory Tarte Tatin with grain mustard and walnuts
I had aimed to keep the chicory as pale as possible but looking back, I think going for a little more gold than the picture shows would have been perfectly fine. It’s a fine line though, so just go easy.
If you are lucky enough to own a Tatin tin, or another two handled pan that goes from stove top to oven, you will not need to transfer the filling, as I had to do.
Preheat the oven 200C
A two handled stove to oven pan, if possible.
10 small chicory, trimmed but left whole
4 whole garlic cloves
200ml stock made with a big pinch saffron
1 tbs grain mustard
Pinch of sugar
A squeeze of orange juice, about a tablespoon
4 whole walnuts, shelled and chopped
Small handful herbs – parsley or chives, chopped small
Salt and pepper
1 sheet of puff pastry
A little beaten egg, the rest used for something else
In a pan the size to snuggly hold all ten chicory, melt the butter till it is foaming but still pale.
Into this, lower the chicory and whole garlic cloves, and move the pan about, so as to coat with the molten butter.
Turn the heat down low and fry gently till chicory is softening and beginning to catch and turn a gentle shade of gold all over.
Use a ladle of hot saffron stock, added a little at a time to help move things along, adjusting the heat up and down, lifting the pan off the heat and placing it back down again, waiting for the juices to do their luscious thing as they blend and merge with the grain mustard.
Add the orange juice and pinch of sugar to aid caramelisation and add an extra note to the roundness of flavour.
Add the chopped walnuts and herbs and stir gently now.
When the chicory is perfectly tender, lightly coated in a mustardy, golden sauce, you can transfer it to an oven - proof pan, should you need to, again of a suitable size to encase them snugly, lying them down in a bicycle wheel spoke formation.
Let them cool a little first while you cut out a circle of puff pastry.
Then place this on top of the chicory and tuck it in all the way round.
Brush quite generously with the beaten egg and place in the hot oven for about 25 minutes, till risen to a deep, golden crisp.
Slip a knife - point, all the way around to help you dislodge the tart and to turn it out onto a plate or board, the chicory now uppermost.
Eat soon with a green salad, bold with a mustard vinaigrette, more chopped walnuts, perhaps some shavings of Parmesan, some finely chopped red onion and a heap of chopped parsley.