Baby Beet Tarte Tatin from 'River Cottage Veg'


[Photograph: Simon Wheeler]

This savory tarte tatin is the first recipe I bookmarked when I got my copy of River Cottage Veg and the dish I most anticipated cooking and eating. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's take on the French dessert is the perfect example of the wonders of vegetable cookery. Beets—the candy of the vegetable world—are excellent in the role of apples in this tart. Paired with buttery puff pastry and pungent shallot-parsley vinaigrette, they are sweet and savory all at once. Each bite is a treat. And this is all not to mention the fact that the dish is drop dead gorgeous and would be perfect for a veg-centric dinner party.

Why I picked this recipe: Look at the picture and tell me you don't want to eat this right now.

What worked: Tender, earthy-sweet beets plus buttery pastry and tangy viniagrette is pretty much the platonic ideal of vegetable meals.

What didn't: No problems here, even when I made the dish in a 10-inch skillet instead of an 8-inch.

Suggested tweaks: Fearnley-Whittingstall suggests topping the tart with feta and parsley instead of the vinaigrette for an alternate take. If you're not up for making your own puff pastry, high quality, all-butter store-bought will work just as well.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of River Cottage Veg to give away this week.