Super Sunday Starters

February 2, 2014

Yumm. Breakfast of champions, right here.

Yumm. Breakfast of champions, right here.

Given that it’s National Day of Gluttony, i.e., Super Bowl Sunday, and I had my Memphis Guinea Pig on hand to sample munchies, I decided to start the gluttony out right with brunch.

Which was gluten-free, except when it wasn’t.

My plans for brunch HAD been latkes with eggs, smoked salmon, and caviar. And then those plans took a sharp turn when I found in my recipe email from the folks at Serious Eats, a recipe for a smoked salmon tart. And I thought, ok, well, we’ll try that. Particularly since the crust showed potential to become gluten free.

It called for fine cornmeal and all-purpose flour, with some millet thrown in for crunch. I didn’t have millet, but I did have teff, as well as several other GF flour mixes. I settled on a combo of light bean flour and buckwheat flour, and stirred in the teff afterward. It makes a decent crust; not like regular pie crust, but not half bad. And gluten free, at that.

The filling was four eggs, a cup of milk, some diced up smoked salmon, some Greek yogurt, some salt, pepper and chives. It was supposed to have creme fraiche; I mixed some up the night before, but it never thickened up, for some cause. It was also supposed to have capers and dill, which I swear that I have, but could not locate. You bake it at 350 until the center is mostly set, but jiggles a bit.

The recipe, as Serious Eats linked to it:

  • Crust
  • 1/2 cup / 65 g fine-ground cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup / 90 g white whole wheat flour or standard whole wheat flour (I subbed 1/2 cup light bean flour and 1/4 cup buckwheat flour)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons / 85 g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1/4 cup / 45 g millet (I used teff)
  • Filling
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup / 50 g minced shallots (about 3 medium shallots) (I was lazy. I used a tsp. of onion powder.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used garlic confit, which also took care of the EVOO)
  • 1 cup / 240 ml whole milk
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml crème fraîche (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained (the elusive missing capers)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (for which I subbed chives)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces / 115 g smoked salmon, cut into small pieces

To prepare the crust: Butter a 9-inch tart pan with 1-inch sides and a removable bottom. Using a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse together the cornmeal, flour, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal (alternatively, you can use a pastry blender or your fingertips to work the butter into the dry ingredients). Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse until the dough starts to look like wet, clumpy sand. It’s ready if a small piece holds together when squeezed between your fingers. If it still seems too crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Turn the dough out into a large bowl and mix in the millet using a fork. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the prepared crust on a small baking sheet for easy transport to and from the oven.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes to slightly dry out the top so that it won’t get soggy when you add the wet filling. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

To prepare the filling: In a small sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and sauté the shallots until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, crème fraîche, eggs, capers, dill, salt, and pepper to make a custard.

To assemble and bake the tart: Spoon the shallot mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the crust; arrange the salmon across the top evenly. Pour in the custard mixture.

Bake at 375°F until the top is golden brown and the filling is set, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Unmold the tart onto a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature. If you have leftovers, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Verdict: It was good. The smoked salmon, though, was salty enough the tart (what’s the difference in a tart and a quiche, anyway?) wound up being too salty. I’d omit the added salt next time. The crust was excellent. And gluten free.

The accompanying bran muffins, however, were not.

We topped it off with sausage patties made from JV Farms breakfast sausage. If you are ever in the neighborhood of Bismarck, AR, stop by and see those folks and buy some sausage. It has a close acquaintance with red pepper, and it’s some seriously good stuff.

It was a perfectly excellent start to a Super Sunday, and I hope you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em are similarly fueled up and ready for a Broncos’ victory.

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