Sunday, December 12, 2010

Parmesan Flan with Cherry Tomatoes

I am intrigued by the idea of savoury flans and custards (as well as shortbreads), because I think it's one of those things we expect to be sweet but using savoury elements like cheese and tomatoes and herbs as flavourings can create very interesting dishes...
I also just love eggs. they are kinda miraculous.
These custards are made by flavouring eggs and cream with parmesan cheese instead of sugar or vanilla and then poring the custard over sauteed cherry tomatoes. Sauteeing the tomatoes enhances their flavour and makes them sweet and juicy. Be careful when you eat them, however, as the tomatoes release water and can burst into like burning bubbles of delicious lava in your mouth, and itcan hurt if youre not prepared for that. I think they just need a few minutes to set when come out of the oven for the tomatoe juices to calm down. If I just came out of an oven I know I would.
These have so many delectable possibilities that I want to experiment with. I bet these would be amazing with sauteed mushrooms and thyme instead of tomatoes and basil...Think I'm on to something? ;)

Parmesan and Cherry Tomato Flan.

Makes 6

This is basically a quiche filling that gets poured into ramekins instead of into pastry and gets baked in a water bath to keep them super silky and fluffy.

I bet this would work really well with mushrooms, spinach, broccoli or different cheeses like asiago as well…The possibilities are endless.

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons basil (garnish)

    1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Butter 6 6-oz ramekins and line the bottom of each with parchment paper (I skipped the parchment because who wants to cut out all those little circles?) Butter the paper. Have ready a baking dish that can accommodate a water bath and 6 ramekins.
    2. In a frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and sauté stirring often until they soften and the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 6 minutes. Stir in the chopped basil and cook for 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the tomato mixture into the prepared ramekins, dividing it evenly among them.
    3. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and egg yolk until blended. Stir the cheese into the custard, and then divide the custard evenly among the ramekins.
    4. Place the ramekins in the pan, and pour hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the custard is set, about 35 minutes. Carefully transfer the baking pan to wire rack, let custards cool slightly, then lift the ramekins out of the water bath.
    5. To unmould, run a knife around the edge of the ramekins. Place a serving plate on top of each ramekin and invert. Lift off the ramekins and peel off the parchment if using. Serve topped with more tomatoes and garnish with basil. Serve warm.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma

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