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Menu ideas please - need a main to go with shallot tarte tartin

I have a starter I'm dying to do because it's delicious but for the life of me can't think of a main and sides to go with it.

The starter is shallot tarte tartin. It's a super rich version that you only want to eat once every couple of years so I want a light main to follow. It's also for a weeknight dinner party so I don't want a heavy main that may put the guests into a food coma. Seafood is unfortunately out. Offals are also a no go but all other meats are fine.

I'm in the Southern Hemisphere and it's winter so that influences vegetable choices somewhat. I would like to try and stay with a French theme but am open to suggestions. Please help!

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  1. how about a cobb salad? good combo of veggies and slightly more substantial ingredients; chicken, bacon, hard boiled eggs; all in all delish!

    1 Reply
    1. re: betsydiver

      Given that it is winter there I would have baby lamb chops, roasted apples and sautéed green beans.

    2. How about baby lamb chops with frisee salad, green peas and acorn (or similar) squash?

      1 Reply
      1. re: pinehurst

        i was thinking lamb chops too. :)

        as sides, i'd do roasted green beans with slivered almonds or lemony brussel sprouts or rapini. would probably skip a starch because of the starter.

      2. Thin sliced medium rare beef and a lemony green salad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sedimental

          Ditto this. And please post the recipe for the shallot tarte tatin; it sounds divine!

        2. Friz - could you not spin it so that the tart becomes the main course, rather than the starter? A savoury tarte tatin makes a centrepiece of extreme loveliness.

          Something meaty then for a starter - pate/rillettes? Or a classic onion soup? Cheese to follow the main and ending with something classically French sweet and gooey, like a brulee?

          2 Replies
          1. re: Harters

            Harters, I think this tarte tatin is too sweet to be the main, but I do have leek tarte tatin recipe that would be perfect for your suggestion. My mouth is watering just thinking about your suggested menu with the leek tarte tatin.

            1. re: Frizzle

              Oh, now ya talking. Leek tarte tatin is wonderful. Maybe with some braised chicory/endive (the cigar shaped veg not the leafy one) to give a little contrasting bitterness?

          2. Assuming there is some sweetness to the shallot tarte tartin--sounds like a fascinating dish; could you indicate a recipe?--my first thought would be a grilled pork chop with a bit of reduction sauce (or slices from pork roast). I think a cool, crispy salad element would also be very helpful.

            1. I don't think a light main is necessarily the proper accompaniment to a rich first course, but a *simple* one IS. My free association response to "shallot tarte tatin" was an instantaneous steak/roast beef, although neither is something I often eat. Plainly prepared, no complicated rub or sauce, just salt&pepper and perhaps garlic powder. The tarte is sufficiently rich that enriching the meat would be over the top, not in a good way. With a baked potato or roasted potatoes, or rice pilaf, and a bitter green, either as a braised side or a raw salad.

              1. Would you please post the recipe for the tarte tatin? It sounds amazing!

                1. Thanks for all the responses. I've got a few different ideas now. The side of lemony brussel sprouts idea of hotoynoodle's appeals as they are in season. I'm dithering about the lamb as it's not best time of year for it but it still might be nice.

                  The recipe for those who are interested is paraphrased below. It's from Marcus Wareing's 'How to cook the perfect...' Marcus used to cook with Gordon Ramsey. The recipe differs to most as instead of caramelising the shallots you make a caramel sauce and bake the shallots with the sauce.

                  375 gram puff pastry
                  Approx 16 evenly sized small shallots
                  129 gram caster sugar
                  80 gram unsalted butter, diced
                  Sea salt and ground black pepper

                  Roll puff pastry to 3mm thick to cover 4 x 12.5cm non stick blini pans or one larger pan if making a single large tart. Wrap in greaseproof paper and store in fridge until needed.

                  Preheat oven to 170c with fan or 190c if no fan.

                  Peel and halve shallots crossways. Trim them to an even height so they will cook evenly.

                  To make the caramel mix sugar and 3tbsp cold water in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until it's an amber colour. Add butter and whisk. Add some pepper and pour caramel into your blini pans (or larger pan). Sprinkle salt over caramel.

                  Pack shallots into pan/s with the widest cut side facing down. Prick pastry with a fork and tuck disc/s in tightly over the shallots. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let them settle for a few minutes before putting a plate over the tart and inverting it.

                  Serves 4

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Frizzle

                    Wouldnt lamb be a bit predictable for you Kiwis?

                    1. re: Harters

                      Possibly, but after living abroad for five years with no NZ lamb to be found I'm ok with being predictable. The guests will understand.

                      1. re: Frizzle

                        Fair point :-)

                        Must admit, I start to get withdrawal symptoms if I dont eat English lamb for a couple of weeks

                  2. Roast chicken, roasted potatoes, braised kale should work.