Braised Fennel & Goat Cheese Tarte Tatin – 2017 Red Carpet Menu for Oscar®

One of the appetizers for the 2017 Red Carpet Menu for Oscar® is here!

Creating a dish to honor Fences was the most difficult of the season. What was it in the movie that was going to resonate and then also work with the other dishes AND be called something that works with the title?!! I had something chosen but then I was inspired and this is what we’ve got.

Since the flavor theme is aromatic and rich with a duality per dish, fennel is the perfect ingredient. It’s got a sweetness that intensifies when braised but yet is still delicate. Adding the goat cheese gives it a touch of salt and a velvety finish. Putting ANYTHING on puff pastry makes it instantly delicious! Ha!

Here’s how:

• 2 fennel bulbs
• 2 tbsp butter
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp fennel seeds
• 4 sprigs fresh thyme
• salt & pepper to taste
• 1 sheet puff pastry
• 2 oz goat cheese

1) Remove top and base of fennel and slice vertically.
2) Using a large oven-safe skillet, add butter and oil over medium heat. When fully incorporated, add fennel seeds. Place fennel pieces in the pan in a single layer, adding pepper, salt & thyme. After about 5 minutes, the fennel will become soft and golden. Turn and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from fennel from the pan, pour off any excess liquid, then replace the fennel pieces evenly around the pan.
3) Lay puff pastry over the fennel, tucking the edges into the pan. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
4) Remove from the oven, and using a heat-proof platter held over the top, and being very careful, turn the tart out onto the dish. Crumble goat cheese over the top and let it melt in. Spread evenly, garnish with thyme, and serve warm.

I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to work out the first time I made it. Flipping that pan and seeing the BEAUTIFUL tart sitting on the platter gave me such JOY! It’s like the loudest “TAH DAHHHHHHH”! The presentation, the flavor… oh yeahhhhhh!

This tarte tatin is a “stretch” but complements the move perfectly! Fences is a seemingly simple movie with complex relationships. “FenCheese” is a simple baked dish with complex flavors. Ha! YES!


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