Louis De Sacy, Grand Cru

Since I'm still a fairly new food blogger, I had never heard about Wine Blogging Wednesday (or any other blogging events for that matter) until I read about the upcoming 25th one on Becks & Posh.

After reading that you don’t have to be a wine expert, though you do have to enjoy a nice glass of champers now and then, I went to Smith & Vine and picked up a bottle of German sparkling wine. It wasn’t until I re-read the instructions that I realized I needed to buy a bottle of true Champagne, produced in the Champagne region of France, and so I set out again, this time visiting Chelsea Wine Vault. It was there that I settled on a bottle of Louis de Sacy, Brut Grand Cru ($29.99), intrigued by the promise of lemony aromas, a creamy mouthful and the merest hint of strawberry.

Since bubbly only seems to get broken out on special occasions or when friends treat me to a fancy Sunday brunch, it’s a good thing I bought this particular bottle a few days before I turned 29. I originally planned to share it over scrambled eggs with Daniel on my actual birthday, but a heavy dinner the night before made us reconsider. After spending the following day at the US Open semi-finals with Olivia, she and I decided to make a homemade tomato and cheese tart and arugula salad for dinner with some Louis De Sacy on the side.

Once we arrived at my apartment, Olivia set to work preparing the tart crust from scratch while I roughly chopped six fat Jersey tomatoes before scattering them in a pyrex with thick slices of garlic.

I drizzled olive oil on top, added some salt, pepper and a hearty sprinkling of fresh thyme sprigs, then popped them in the oven to roast for about twenty minutes.

While the tomatoes cooked, we worked on the salad, Olivia spicing up some pecans with cayenne pepper as I soaked the spicy greens in a bowl full of water, freeing all the sandy grits that were buried in each bundle.

Once the tomatoes had roasted for awhile, Olivia and I blind baked the tart shell for about ten minutes, aware that our lack of pie weights would probably cause the sides to sag and the bottom to puff up (which they did), before spooning some of the garlicky juice from the tomatoes into small cups for an impromptu amuse bouche.

About two hours later, it was finally time to sit down, fill our flutes and dig in. Looking at the bottle of Louis De Sacy as he prepared to pop it open, Daniel, full of information about his native land, treated us to an entertaining story about Saci, a one-legged, pipe-smoking elf from Brazil. I'm not sure French folklore has a similar character, though after doing some research, I discovered some myths might have originated in Europe, so peut-ĂȘtre?

Before taking our first sips, we each tried to describe the champagne's aroma, all agreeing that it had a fruity, rather than citrusy scent. When it came time to sip, I was expecting something a bit more sweet, but to be completely honest, this champagne tasted much like all the others I have sampled.

I took a bite of my tomato tart (which was buttery and delicious even if the bottom was slightly soggy) hoping that it might cause me to think differently, but this time the combination of the two resulted in an uncomfortable tingle in my throat. Though the woman who rang me up at the Chelsea Wine Vault claimed that champagne goes with evvvvverythig, I think that this particular one would work better with some pieces of cheese and maybe some fruits, or best of all, by itself. If only we’d thought to crack open the bottle while cooking, this experiment might have been more successful.

Either way, it was still a good excuse to continue celebrating my birthday, not to mention that popping open a bottle of champagne always feels so luxurious, even when it is for the sake of research. And while the Louis De Sacy didn't wow us, I'm still dreaming about that to-die-for tomato tart.

Thanks for letting me participate, and if anyone wants to start a Sweets Blogging Saturday, I'm in!

Olivia's Tomato Tart
Pastry dough:
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons chilled water

Slice the butter into the bowl of a food processor (a Cuisinart, for
example) and add the flour and salt. Pulse the mixture until crumbly
(don't over-process or the dough will be tough). Keeping the lid on,
feed the water drop by drop into the tube opening while continuing to
pulse the food processer. As soon as the dough starts to form into a
ball, stop adding the water. Too much water can also make the dough

Remove the ball of dough and wrap with wax paper. Let chill in the
refrigerator for 10-30 minutes. Then roll the dough on a floured
surface using a rolling pin dusted with flour. Fill it and bake soon after rolling it - the dough should always be as chilled as possible, to keep it flaky when cooked.

Tomato filling:
7-10 Roma tomatoes (we used Jersey)
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
5 sprigs fresh thyme
Sea salt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (we used goat and Pecorino Romano)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Roughly chop the tomatoes and dice the
garlic. Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs. Toss the tomatoes,
garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme leaves together in a
roasting pan. Roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes. Separate the
tomatos and garlic from the juice; save the juice for later use as an
amuse-bouche or as the base to a tomato soup.

Roll out the pie dough and place in a 9-inch pie tin. Add pie
weights to the dough (several cups uncooked rice on top of wax paper
works nicely) and bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and let cool slightly. Using a pastry
bush, spread a thin layer of mustard on the bottom of the crust, then
add the roasted tomatoes and garlic. Top with grated parmesan
cheese. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until the cheese is nicely browned.

Remove from the oven and serve with a mixed green salad.

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Anne Stesney said...

The tart looks gorgeous. What's on top? Cheese? Or more pastry?

Lia said...

It's cheese. Olivia, who also makes an amazing leek and goat cheese tart, thought it'd be good to add some Parmesan to the tomato one. I only had Pecorino Romano in the fridge, so we used that. The slices we cut were kind of thick, which caused it to harden slightly, but I still loved every bite.

Anne Stesney said...

It looks so good. Perfect rainy day blues fare. I want some now!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lia!

welcome to your first online blogging event - that's a good enough reason to open a bottle of bubbly if ever there was one. I am very impressed that you managed to wait two hours before cracking open the bottle. What restraint!

Btw - you might be interested in Sugar High Fridays which are a once monthly event based around everything sweet. The next one is next friday.

here is a good place to check out the events calendar.

I hope to get the round up finished before the weekend is out.

Anonymous said...

wow. im so impressed with the detail you put into this one. yeah, makes me want to make tarts and drink the bubbly. can i do one of those days with you one day like olivia? i can come up with ideas too....

Lia said...

Thanks Mo! And yes, we can definitely do one of those days. We should pick a day and do it. I'm always trying to cook more. Maybe we can make some Egyptian dishes?

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and I liked the story about the one-legged Saci.
Great job.

Anonymous said...

There is Weekend Cat Blogging and Weekend Dog Blogging too, if you got little furry things runnin' round your ankles.

Your blog is REALLY neat. I will check back often!

Lia said...

Thanks, Kate! I saw that you have a blog too and just checked it out. I think it's great too and plan on checking back often.

Unfortunately, I don't have any little furry things running around my ankles, but maybe some day!


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