Laurent Tourondel's Fresh from the Market feeds a different sort of hunger. It's not a cookbook meant to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. There's no preoccupation with expediency or simplicity; things here are not tweaked for family friendliness, nor altered to work on a weeknight. This ambitious collection of recipes, divided by season, requires you to show up with a sense of adventure. Here, you will transcend the good, and light out in search of the epic.
Bring patience and fortitude to these splendid pages, and, oh, my, how you will be fed.
Tourondel's intricate roadmap to local, seasonal cooking begins with a breakdown of what's fresh in any given month (September: lavender and blue fin tuna, black mission figs and orange mint), and subliminally suggests you set aside a Sunday. Once you see the photos of what's in store for your efforts, you'll save the date.
These are recipes intended not only to sate, but to celebrate -- slow food, market bounty, the joys of attention paid and details minded. The effect is that the book itself is a pleasure to absorb, even if you never follow the two densely-packed pages of process to achieve a Chocolate-Amaretto Icebox Pie with Milk Chocolate Ice Cream. It still makes for a great bedtime story.
To be fair, there are dishes throughout that don't require a day of work -- see the tomato tart featured here -- but the majority of meals have long ingredient lists and plenty of ampersands. Jamison Farm Rack of Lamb with Salsify & Walnuts & Juancon-Chanterelle Juice. Pan-Seared Sweetbreads with Madeira-Braised Morels & Calabro Ricotta Gnocchi (a recipe which warns, "give yourself a few days to make this dish.") Clear the kitchen and the calendar, friends. It's time to cook.
Beefsteak Tomato, Mortadella, & Wisconsin Emmenthaler Tart
Wisconsin Emmenthaler is similar but worlds better than regular old grocery store Swiss cheese. True Emmenthaler cheese is generally richer because it is made with unpasteurized milk. It’s great in this tart with its slightly piquant and somewhat sharp taste.
1 sheet store-bought frozen puff pastry, preferably Dufour brand, thawed
2 tablespoons Raye’s whole grain mustard
12 slices Wisconsin Emmenthaler cheese, 1/8 inch thick
6 slices mortadella, 1/4 inch thick
3 large vine-ripened or beefsteak tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold the puff pastry sheet on a cool, lightly ﬂoured surface and roll it out to a 1/4-inch thickness.
Trim the pastry into a 12-inch round and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
Using a fork, prick the pastry in several places.
Brush the pastry with the mustard, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
Lay 6 slices of cheese over the mustard, then top with the mortadella.
Lay the remaining 6 slices of cheese over the mortadella. Arrange, the tomatoes atop the tart, slightly overlapping to form a circular pattern, then scatter the garlic over the tomatoes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Bake until the pastry is golden brown, the cheese is hot and bubbling, and the tomatoes are slightly caramelized, about 30 minutes.
Drizzle the tart with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and serve immediately.
Serve this dish with an Alsatian white-inspired blend that offers aromas of nectarines, ﬂowers, and spice, such as Robert Sinskey, “Abraxas,” 2007, Napa Valley, California.