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Who doesn’t like European markets? They are such happenings that draw huge crowds of people, some there to buy the morning’s fresh pastries and handcrafted cheeses, others there to just enjoy the spectacle of it all as was the case at the Sunday market in Amboise.

20130506-085634.jpgWant beautiful fresh vegetables or seafood, it’s there.

20130506-090342.jpgOr maybe a colorful and fragrant soap or handmade basket or something new to spice up your wardrobe is what captures your eye to say nothing of an already prepared food too tempting to pass up.

20130506-172456.jpgVendors stay busy, and it is such fun watching them chat and laugh with their customers as if they are so enjoying the exchange.

Now just how do we Foodie Adventurers benefit from these trips to the market? For dinner this night we used cheese, shrimp and pear in our first course. Oh so good!

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Chef Michael’s Stilton Cheese and Shrimp Tartlet with Pine Nuts and Pear

1 batch pastry dough (recipe follows)
Vegetable oil
1 T unsalted butter
12 large shrimp
4 oz. cream cheese
5 oz. Stilton cheese
2 egg yolks
2 t. Chopped Italian parsley
3/4 c heavy cream
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
1 batch Chive Beurre Blanc (recipe follows)
Cut 6 inch rounds of parchment paper. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 6 5 1/2 inch circles and cover bottom and sides of 4 inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms that have been coated with vegetable oil. Place a round of parchment paper on the dough and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake in preheated 350 oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and take out weights and paper.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add butter and cook shrimp for 1 minute on each side, searing them but not cooking all the way through. Remove shrimp to a plate and season with salt and white pepper.
Combine Stilton and cream cheese and mix until smooth. Add egg yolks, 1 t. parsley and heavy cream. Mix well. Season with salt and white pepper.
Divide the cheese mixture among the tart crusts and place 2 shrimp on top of each. Place tartlets on a baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes.
To serve, place the tart in the middle of a serving plate and surround with a few tablespoons of Chive Beurre Blanc. Arrange 3 thin slices of pear against the tart and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and parsley.

Pastry Dough

1 1/3 c. All purpose flour
3/4 t. Kosher salt
4 T chilled unsalted butter
1/3 c vegetable shortening
1/4 c cold water

In a mixer bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut the butter into fine cubes and mix into the flour until it resembles fine meal. Add the shortening and mix 30 seconds. Add water and mix only until it combines. Do not overwork. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Chive Buerre Blanc

2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 t canola oil
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1/4 c white wine
1 T white wine vinegar
1/4 c heavy cream
Kosher salt and white pepper to taste
1 T finely chopped chives
Dice the butter and bring to room temperature. Heat oil in a 2 quart saucepan. Sauté onions over medium heat for 2 minutes, but do not allow them to brown. Deglaze with white wine and vinegar and reduce over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated being careful not to brown. Add heavy cream and reduce the mixture by half, whisking occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the butter. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl. Season with salt and white pepper and stir in the chives. Keep in a warm place until serving.

OK, there you have it. Though there are several steps to the recipe, it’s not as difficult to prepare as you might think. If you don’t have individual tart pans, I believe it would work fine to use a single removable bottom pan and slice the baked tart into wedges and serve as described with the pears and Chive Buerre Blanc. The recipe makes 6 generous first course servings. With a lovely mixed green salad, I think it would also make a very satisfying casual dinner. You can be sure this is a recipe that won’t be forgotten at our house!

I so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

On the Menu Monday

12 thoughts on “To Market, To Market

  1. Going to an outdoor market would be the first thing on my list of things to do if I were to go to France…thanks for sharing these fun pictures. The recipe looks very involved but well worth it, I hope you enjoyed!

    XO,
    Jane

  2. So you know I was going to ask…….WHAT is that in the 2nd photo (the collage) that looks like a bird’s head on the right??!?!?! Where do you FIND this stuff??!????!!

    The dish you photographed is beautiful!!! It even LOOKS totally French!!! How elegant!!!

    The markets there have such colorful and interesting things to offer!!! I’m SO glad you’re enjoying yourself!

  3. You have done it again! You take us on a culinary dance, whirling through the streets of France. Weaving in and out of all the delightful colors and smells, the air filled with the chatter of vendors and customers. Selecting tidbits from here and there, only to return to the quiet of your chateau and weave them together into an absolute delight to awaken the palate. What a marvelous time you must be having! Thank you so much for sharing. We are in Rome today and leaving for Zurich this afternoon.

  4. Oh, how I miss the open air markets! We lived in Geneva, Switzerland for four lovely years and would always go! My husband, a lover of cheese, was in heaven with all the different varieties they had displayed on their trucks. How sad that I didn’t like cheese back then! Such fabulous memories that still gnaw at me and won’t let me go! Someday, I hope to live in Europe again.. if only for a few months. Thanks for bringing those memories back to mind!!

    1. Even though we seem to have an increasing number of farmers markets in the States, they can’t compare with the European markets. I can never get enough of them!

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