scallop and onion tartes fines {ffwd}

Scallop Tartlette

This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is an elegant and substantial starter. Disks of puff pastry are topped with a mixture of caramelized onions and bacon, then adorned with barely cooked sea scallops.

Let’s start with the puff pastry. For whatever reason, I always have the hardest time rolling out thawed puff pastry. The thawed slab never seems to get much bigger. That means that every time I’m faced with a recipe that calls for puff pastry, I get a pit of dread in my stomach.

Last month, I came across a recipe for Quick and Easy Puff Pastry on Chocolate & Zucchini. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to try it out since then. Clotllde said this recipe changed her life. Now that I’ve made it myself, I can see why. It was truly easy. The technique wasn’t the laminated style of a true puff pastry, where the butter is rolled into a slab that gets rolled inside the pastry dough. This is more of a rough puff pastry where butter is cut into the flour, staying in relatively large pieces. After that, the fold and roll steps to form layers is similar.

No food processor required either. This is a purely manual operation. I cut the butter in with a pastry blender. Then ice water is incorporated with a dough scraper. Finally, a few roll and fold repetitions, one full rotation and then some (I lost count, so did some extras), and that’s all that was needed. I splurged on Plugra, though I’ll have to make it again with my usual butter to compare. The dough remained supple and was very easy to roll out, but in the making, and later when I rolled out for the disks. I’m thinking I’ll never buy puff pastry again.

Homemade Puff Pastry

My favorite part of this recipe was the onion and bacon mixture. I sliced my onions thin, though you can also choose to chop them finely. My new trick when caramelizing onions is to cover the pan for the first 10 minutes or so to accelerate the softening of the onions. Then, the uncovered onions continue to cook, and brown, and finally caramelize. This combo would be great to fill a full-sized savory tart too.

Caramelized Onions and Bacon

Finally, the scallops. I’ve never seen them as expensive as they were this week. I nearly fell over when I saw them priced at $28.99 a pound. I was only making half the recipe, so I asked for three scallops (they were huge), which ended up weighing just under half a pound for $11. Even though I trust the freshness of Whole Foods seafood counter, I seldom keep uncooked fish in my refrigerator overnight. I’m a “eat it the same day I buy it” seafood shopper. I mixed up some dates this week, so ended up buying the scallops two days before I actually needed them. This made me squeamish about eating them raw (OK, barely cooked). Instead, I seared the scallops the way we have before, then sliced them into disks to top the mini-onion tarts.

The final word? We both liked them. We agreed that the onion and bacon topping was so satisfying that we would have liked them just as well without the scallops. Also, Clotilde’s rough puff pastry is a keeper. It tasted fantastic! Even with the expensive European butter, it is still more economical commercial puff pastry. And no dread involved.

To see how my Dorista friends’ tartes came out, check their links here. We don’t post the recipes, but you can find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

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Posted on 21 March 2014, in French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I have Clotilde’s “rough puff” bookmarked too! Sounds like a winner! Glad you enjoyed these and yes, I hear you on the cost of the scallops this week!

  2. Loved this post. I can’t believe you made the homemade puff pastry- that is wonderful. You really made it sound very enticing to try this myself, which is saying something because prior to your post I would have gotten the feeling of dread at such a thought. Sounded too tough. It is also probably fairly dangerous for me since I tend to love puff pastry too much :) I can literally cook it and eat it plain and feel as though I have died and gone to heaven. So I was pleased with the “scraps” this week while my guys enjoyed the real deal. It was a hit but I am not sure they would not have enjoyed scallops cooked in any fashion, then a side of bacon/onion tarte. While I eat puff pastry….

  3. Wow, great post. I learned quite a bit. First I had to google Plugra to find out what that was. I had no idea before moving over here that european butter had more fat content than american butter. As far as I knew, butter was fat and nothing else, so how can you have higher fat fat? But after moving to Germany and trying to cure my first bout of homesickness with a batch of chocolate chip cookies, I learned! Those darn cookies melted together into a flat crispy sheet. It wasn’t pretty and I seem to recall that the whole episode ended in tears.

    And next time I caramelize onions I’ll try your trick to cover them for the first part. Thanks for the tip.

  4. Great post, Betsy! I made a laminated pastry just once for TWD. It came out wonderful…but it took a lot of time! I love this recipe and have it bookmarked…I love Clotilde’s blog! I’ve been following her forever. Can’t wait to give it a try! I never knew that European butter had more fat content than American.
    Boy, I thought my scallops were expensive, I can’t believe how much you paid per pound. Mine were 19.99. I only bought a half a pound and it was more than enough for just Bill and me. We really enjoyed this recipe, however I did make some modifications for my hubby who won’t eat onions. Your tartes look lovely and quite delicious!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Thanks for all the info!

  5. I’ve made a similar puff pastry…so darn good! I think anything would taste marvelous on it! I know I’d like these even better with seared scallops…and I’m nervous about using older seafood as well.

  6. Helyn Benjamin

    Hi. Sounds and looks yummy. Xxxxx

    Sent from my iPad

  7. I think I’d like to try this pastry version as I’m not much of a fan of the stuff either… yours looks so tasty. I wish I had seared the scallops too. Or something. Needed something… glad I did it though.

  8. So impressed that you made your own puff pastry! I’ve made Gluten Free Girl’s version of rough puff pastry, but Clotilde’s sounds simpler. I might have to try a gluten free version.

    I wish I’d seared the scallops, even though I bought them today. In fact, I think they would have been better served with greens alongside the onion bacon tart.

  9. I like quick puff pastries – I have yet to try Clothilde’s version, but I think I have it in one of her books. Plugra can be hard to find around here, but it is such a lovely treat.
    Scallops can be pricey, can’t they? Glad you only needed a handful.

  10. Your pastry dough is wonderful and yes delete the scallops… if I make this again I’m putting brie on top.

  11. Oh my, homemade puff pastry! And you make it sound so easy!! I would love to make it (and will sometime), but I’m with Tricia, could eat the whole thing. This one sounds like it would make fabulous sausage rolls, and other like things.

    I didn’t get to the recipe this week, yours looks lovely – and kudos for sticking with it for that price tag!

  12. I’m so happy I saw your post before doing the grocery shopping. I splurged on some Irish butter to make a batch of rough puff. :-)

  13. I have been curious about trying a quick puff pastry – I must give it a try next time I need some! I also like that it contains butter rather than some of the less-than-good ingredients contained in the leading brand of frozen puff pastry. I’m glad you both liked the tarts!

  14. I would live to try Clotilde’s rough puff pastry – I have made rough puff, but the method is still lamination. Your tartes look great, and I think I would have liked them even better without the scallops.

  15. Betsy, you win – hands down! No one except you (as far as I can tell) made the puff pastry at home for this week´s FFwD recipe. And I must say that the recipe sounds wonderful and doable, even for busy people…Your tartes fines look amazingly delicious, the wonderful puff pastry, the caramelized onions and the thinly sliced scallops! Perfect! What a nice recipe and what a great presentation!
    Have a lovely Sunday!

  16. Your tarts look so good and I think searing them was the way to go. I read through the
    recipe for the homemade puff pastry and will definitely give it a try. I am not a fan of
    scallops but I did enjoy this with the bay scallops on it. Interesting recipe that could be
    made with many variations.

  17. I have the same dread in my stomach when it comes to rolling thawed puff pastry! That and the fact that I haven’t found a good gluten free puff pastry recipe yet made think again about making this recipe. I skipped it but maybe I will revisit it again in the future!

  18. When you told me you had made your own puff pastry, I was very impressed. Now we all get to join in the fun. Thank you for including the link. I hope to try it before I head back to high-altitude so I can figure out what to do and what not to do. Fish is what I’m squeamish about. Not too big on eating it raw (or, barely warm). I thought it was my midwestern roots where it came out of a box – fresh was never on the menu at our house or at any restaurant in those days. I loved the onion/bacon topping but didn’t like deflating the puff pastry and prefer my scallops served other ways. Probably won’t make this again.

  19. Rough puff pastry is fun to make. I have been using Martha’s. But I keep store stuff anyway. And I thought $10/lb was expensive. WOW!!

  20. Thank you so much for the glowing review of the rough puff pastry recipe. I’ve been meaning to try making my own for a while now, and definitely feel more inspired now…..I’m so glad you liked the no-knead rye bread. I’m going to try adding the caraway seeds the next time I make it. They sound like a great addition.

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