I recently came up with a new caviar recipe that was borrowed from a childhood memory of a dish called “pâté à la pomme de terre ». Unlike the traditional meat preparation, this pâté is vegetarian. It was invented in my region called « Le Bourbonnais » at the end of the 18th century – at a time of great famine – to serve in lieu of fish on Fridays. Indeed, the few lakes and ponds being the property of the « bourgeoisie », thus off limits to the people, the latter were left with a small variety of simple ingredients.
Pâté à la pomme de terre is made of short pastry or puff pastry dough, potatoes, parsley, onions (optional) and crème fraiche. The potatoes are cut in thin layers, then mixed with the other ingredients and snuggled in tight layers in the shape of a pie.
I deconstructed the potato pie because I thought it would complement one of our dishes nicely. The layers of potato and cream serve as a base to caviar, which brings a salty, delicate texture to the simple ingredients. For texture contrast, and to stay with the idea of crust and potatoes, I added a layer of brik dough :
Recipe of the traditional “pâté à la pomme de terre” :
You need :
- 2 lbs of peeled and thinly sliced potatoes
- 1 onion, sliced
- short crust or puff pastry dough : 2 round pieces
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- 1 cup of chopped parsley
- a few fresh thyme sprigs, and a bay leaf
- Salt, pepper
You will need parchment paper, a brush, and a baking tray.
- Preheat your oven at 325°F,
- In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with the chopped onion, parsley, and thyme,
- Lay the parchment paper in the baking tray,
- Place the short crust dough on top,
- Add the potatoes on top to for a 1 inch mound, leaving ½ inch of space around the potatoes to fold in the top layer of dough. Brush that space lightly with water.
- Cover with the second layer of dough, making sure that the two layers are sealed properly.
- Cut out a small hole in the middle of the pie to make a chimney.
- Whisk the egg yolk with a tbsp. of water then brush the mixture on the pie.
- Bake it at 350°F for about 45 minutes or unil till the potato is cooked.
- Once the pie is cooked, cut a larger circle on the top crust . Pour in the crème fraîche, cover with the cutout piece and leave in the warm –but switched off- oven until the crème fraiche settles in the pie.