Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sundays in Paris

Sundays in Paris are spent leisurely, with family and friends. Almost all large stores, le grand magasins, and the small stores are closed. Surprisingly, even some restaurants are also not open. Families, tourists, and locals flock to the streets and parks. Being a warm sunny day, it was even more special in the Luxembourg Gardens. The late afternoon glow slowed down the gait and made the garden chairs more appealing to "sit a spell" and ponder where to have dinner. After deciding on a nearby restaurant that my friend Debbie and I knew was open on Sundays, we slowly made our way over towards the Pantheon. Being in a touristy area, a favorite store selling reasonably priced scarves beckoned us in. There is nothing like a little shopping to rev up the appetite. We arrived at the restaurant, le Petite Prince, hungry and thirsty. An unusual first course was offered that my friend had to try. She ordered the Tomato Tart with Basil Sorbet. It was a delight to the taste buds. The tomatoes were sunny and caramelized. The basil sorbet was a balance of contradictions between the spiciness of basil and the delicate sweetness of sorbet. It was the South of France all dressed up. I had to come home and try to duplicate it. After some trial and error, I came up with my own version that I think comes pretty close.

Tomato Tart with Basil Sorbet

24 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
4 yellow pear tomatoes, sliced in half
6 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves removed
1 TBSP olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
½ sheet of puff pastry
2-5 inch round pans or oven proof dishes
Basil sprigs for garnish

1. Toss all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Take out the yellow pear tomatoes and arrange on the bottom of the two, 5 inch round pans in a flower like formation. Make sure the uncut sides are face down. Fill in the spaces with the cherry tomatoes and top with the plum tomatoes.

2. Place in a cold oven and turn the oven to 375 degrees and bake for 1 hour or until caramelized.

3. Unroll puff pastry and cut out 2 5 inch round pieces pressing the pan down on the pastry, to use as a cutter. Place on top of the tomatoes and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry puffs up and is golden brown.

4. Take out of the oven and cool to just slightly warm, about 20 minutes. Invert onto 2 serving dishes and place a scoop of Basil Lemon Sorbet on top. Garnish with a basil sprig and serve.

Makes 2 tarts

Basil Lemon Sorbet

1 pint Hagen Dazs lemon sorbet
8-10 large basil leaves

1.Take one generous scoop of lemon sorbet and put in a blender with 8-10 basil leaves. Process until the basil is the size of ground pepper.
2.Gently fold processed sorbet into remaining lemon sorbet. Return to container and refreeze until firm.

Written and photographed by Diane

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