|The Decor of Maison Boulud gets high marks too!|
Daniel Boulud is no stranger to these pages. His recipes are as reliable as his restaurants, the latest of which just opened in Montreal’s newly renovated Ritz Carlton Hotel ( 1228 Sherbrooke St. Ouest, Montreal QC H3g 1H6 Tel: 514-842-4212 ) The place only opened at the end of May and there are currently 166 reviews of it on Open Table alone! Almost all of them assign “Maison Boulud” 5 stars. Since my parents spent years and years going to that same Ritz at every opportunity, I have great affection for the hotel. It came as no real surprise that Chef Boulud has made magic there. I just wish I could whip up and sample what is taking the town by storm. However, I will have to content myself with his recipe made with food from closer to home. In fact, the two mainstays of this dish came straight from the farm that’s right over the hill from our house. And what a dish it is! The burst of tomato flavor, the sweetness of the corn and the fluffiest of pastry crusts are a wonderful salute to the end of summer. We’d give this one 5 stars and name the recipe one of our best finds this summer.
Every month, Chef Boulud is featured in Elle Décor magazine with a column called “Daniel’s Dish”. I can’t begin to tell you how often I make whatever he is writing about. There’s a luxe quality to his food and in the case of this tart, the Chef has elevated these two summer staples—corn and tomatoes—and made them into an elegant almost quiche-like dish that we served with a simple green salad for an outdoor lunch. The corn filling is custard-like with both pureed corn and fresh kernels. Then the tomato topping, with its panko crumbs and parmesan cheese, adds another dimension of summer-y flavor. We used the heirloom cherry tomatoes found at Country Gardens in Bridgehampton. But Chef Boulud encourages combining whatever tomato looks fresh and ripe. I couldn’t help thinking that yellow or orange or purple tomatoes would have added even more color than the red ones I chose. Finally there’s the corn.
|Tomatoes at Country Garden|
At Country Garden, no corn is ever sold that’s more than one day away from the stalk. In fact, at the end of the day, whatever has not been sold is used for feed corn. It’s a simple fact that the minute corn is harvested, it starts to build up starch. And in sweet corn, half the sugar will convert to starch within two days. The result is that it loses its sweetness. The best corn is left in the husk until just before you plan to cook it. Of course the simplest way to make corn is simply to leave it on the cob and then cook it by literally putting it into boiling water and taking it right out after a minute and not longer. But I am not a fan of corn on the cob. I think it’s one of those things that you really shouldn’t eat in public. Better by far to take it off the cob and cook it adding elements that enhance the corn flavor.
This summer I saw a technique in Cook's Illustrated for getting the kernels off the cob that’s been a revelation. You mount the corn on the center of a Bundt Pan and then with a sharp knife you strip the kernels from the cob and they all fall into the Bundt pan. This is so much neater than any other method which always seemed to leave me standing in a sea of kernels that missed the bowl and ended up on the floor. Try it. And for goodness sake, try this fantastic recipe. Here it is.
Recipe for Daniel Boulud’s Corn and Heirloom Tart from Elle Décor Magazine
Serves 6 to 8
To make the Tart Shell*
1 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
8 T cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1⁄8 tsp. salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups dried beans or rice, for baking shell
Combine flour, butter, and salt in a food processor and pulse until crumbs form. Add egg and pulse until the mixture resembles moist curds. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, and knead once or twice to pull dough together. Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (At this point, the dough can be kept refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to a month.)
Center a rack in the oven, and preheat to 350°F. Cut a 10" dia. round of waxed or parchment paper. Place a fluted 9" tart pan with a removable bottom on a baking sheet. Lightly dust a work surface and the top of the dough with flour. Roll the dough out into a round that is approximately 10" dia. and 1⁄8" thick. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim excess dough even with the pan's rim and, with the tines of a fork, poke a few holes on the bottom.
Line the shell with the paper round and fill with dried beans, rice or pastry weights or rice. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
Take the pan out of the oven and carefully remove the paper and beans, then bake the shell for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until lightly browned. Remove and let cool in pan on a rack. (The shell can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 8 hours.)
*Chef Boulud allows that you can use a store-bought pie shell for this dish but that you need to be careful not to buy one that contains sugar or the dish will be too sweet.
To make the Filling
3 T unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1⁄2cups uncooked corn kernels (about 2 ears)
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs: 3 whole eggs, plus yolk from 1 egg
3⁄4 cup sliced scallions
Dash Tabasco sauce
1⁄2 lb. heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 to 2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut in thin wedges
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄2 tsp. smoked paprika
1⁄3 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Preheat oven to 300°F. Melt 1 T of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the corn, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Reserve 1⁄2 cup of the corn mixture in a medium bowl. Add the cream to the saucepan, bring to a simmer, and then transfer to a blender. Puree until smooth and transfer to the bowl with the reserved corn. Whisk in whole eggs, egg yolk, 1⁄2 cup scallions, Tabasco, and another sprinkle of salt and pepper until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tart shell, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the custard is set.
Meanwhile, melt remaining butter, transfer to a medium bowl, and toss with the remaining scallions, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, smoked paprika, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Once custard is set, remove tart from oven, and arrange tomato mixture on top. Return tart to the oven and continue baking for 15 more minutes, or until tomatoes are soft and bread crumbs are golden.
Let tart rest for 20 minutes before slicing.