Recipe: Classic French dish gets a veggie makeover
Cherry tomatoes peek through the herbs sprinkled over this savory clafoutis.
(Photos: Kathy Morrison)
Gardening is full of surprises. This year one of mine came from the vigorous plant that I thought would give me ping-pong ball-size cherry tomatoes. Instead, they're the size of large peas, or maybe small marbles. And the plant is huge, taller than me, so there are tons of them.
Well, they're cute, but too small for a BLT, that's for sure.
So what to do with this wealth of tiny tomatoes? I was inspired by the very word "cherry." Sweet cherries are great in the French dessert called clafoutis. How about a savory clafoutis featuring this micro crop?
As it turns out, a savory clafoutis is a great brunch dish or appetizer that holds beautifully at room temperature. Not weepy, like a quiche can be, or eggy like a frittata. I used plenty of herbs and just a bit of cheese, but feel free to add more on top if you like.
Herbs and cheese go into the clafoutis along with tomatoes,
milk, flour and eggs.
1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese (or fontina, Gruyere or cheddar)
3 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs such as parsley, basil, chives and thyme, divided
2-1/2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh grated black pepper, to taste
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (Wondra if you have it; it blends well)
About 2 cups small cherry tomatoes, stemmed
The tomatoes are added last so you can get a good distribution.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-1/2-inch or 10-inch pie plate or baking dish. Whisk together in a large bowl the milk, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Parmesan, the mozzarella (or substitute), 2 tablespoons of the herbs, the melted butter, salt, pepper and the eggs.
Then whisk in the flour; it's OK if the mixture is a bit lumpy.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Gently sprinkle the tomatoes over the batter so they're evenly distributed. Then sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan over the top. (Add more cheese of your choice here if you really like cheese and tomatoes.)
Bake for 20 minutes, or when the edges are golden brown and the center is set. Remove from the oven to cool and sprinkle the remaining herbs over the top.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Dig In: Garden Checklist
For week of March 19:
Spring will start a bit soggy, but there’s still plenty to do between showers:
* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.
* Watch out for aphids. Wash off plants with strong blast from the hose.
* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.
* Prepare summer vegetable beds. Spade in compost and other amendments.
* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.
* Feed camellias at the end of their bloom cycle. Pick up browned and fallen flowers to fight blossom blight.
* Feed citrus trees as they start to blossom.
* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.
* Seed and renovate the lawn (if you still have one). Feed cool-season grasses such as bent, blue, rye and fescue with a slow-release fertilizer. Check the irrigation system and perform maintenance. Make sure sprinkler heads are turned toward the lawn, not the sidewalk.
* In the vegetable garden, transplant lettuce and kale.
* Seed chard and beets directly into the ground.
* Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Also plant dahlia tubers.
* Shop for perennials. Many varieties are available in local nurseries and at plant events. They can be transplanted now while the weather remains relatively cool.
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