In one of my previous posts, I promised you a variation of my pan-bagnat, a sandwich originating in Nice composed of bread ‘bathed’ in the ingredients mainly found in the popular salade niçoise. The recipe can be a major of source of debate. Which ingredients are traditional? How much dressing? Anchovies or no anchovies? Egg or no egg? But we won’t worry about that for now. We’ll just take the idea and give it any fanciful twist we like!
Last Friday the temperatures went just a little above 30 degrees Celsius here in the Netherlands. The kind of heat that is very rare for us — shockingly so almost — even in summer.
That unusual weather was all over the news. Scene of children in pools, running through sprinklers, playing with water guns. Full terraces. Parks crowded with half naked sun worshippers. The works. Everybody, of course, (yes, my family included) had to barbecue. The neighbor lady (don’t approve) even kept her kids home from school just so she could set up a pool for them, which is now covered and collecting dust.
We don’t have many of those so-called ‘tropical’ days here, so when we do, we live it up. By the way, I didn’t make up that term. ‘Tropical’ starts at above 40 degrees Celsius as far as I’m concerned. When I lived in New Jersey, that was the norm from May until October. No one ever called that ‘tropical’.
On those rare Dutch ‘tropical’ days, nothing beats a proper picnic for lunch. Fresh fruit, some olives, perhaps a nice hard cheese, bread, a terrine… I can think of so many things loved by that insulated pink picnic bag of mine. But one of my favorite treats is a French pan-bagnat.
Although traditionally a dessert, a savory clafoutis (more like a crustless quiche) is a delicious variation to the one with fruit such as cherries or strawberries. This is a summer variation made with cherry tomatoes and red onions. Bear in mind that you should use only the best and smallest vine-ripe tomatoes. Otherwise the dish will become watery. With a salad, this makes a delightful lunch.
Savory Clafoutis with Cherry Tomatoes and Sweet Red Onions
- 1 tbsp mild olive oil, plus a little extra to grease the dish
- 4 red onions, quartered
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 1 clove of garlic, bruised
- 500g small, vine-ripe cherry tomatoes
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsps Herbes de Provence
- 100g all-purpose flour
- 125ml milk
- 125ml crème fraîche
- 150g freshly-grated Gruyère
- salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 180°C and lightly grease a 25cm quiche pan with a bit of oil. Put the pan on a baking tray. Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently cook the onions, rosemary and garlic for about 15 minutes. Stir now and again making sure the onions fall apart. Divide the tomatoes over the quiche pan. Take the rosemary out of the onions and garlic and spread this over the tomatoes. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, Herbes de Provence, flour, milk, crème fraîche, cheese, and salt and pepper. Pour the batter over the vegetables and bake the clafoutis for about 50 minutes. The clafoutis will slightly deflate as it cool so serve immediately!
Spring has finally sprung, and here I was, craving an apple coffee cake scented with cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Not bad considering, I have a few apples that needed to be used. But this recipe I came up with screams leaves that turn red, cozy sweaters, pumpkins and all that other fun autumn stuff.