Holidays in Gstaad
If it’s December, it must be Gstaad. Mr. Valentino’s chalet in the Swiss mountain village is one of his oldest homes, and for many years now, he’s kept up a tradition of hosting his closest friends there for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Guests include Mr. Giammetti, of course, as well as Carlos Souza, Doris Brynner, and Bruce Hoeksema, to whom Mr. Valentino dedicated his new book, At the Emperor’s Table.
One of Mr. Valentino’s favorite dishes served at Gstaad—which has a hint of seasonal flavor—is a Goat Cheese Flan. The recipe is included in the book. Also included: Instructions on how to create the elegant tomato petals that top the flan, and give it a signature Valentino, soigné touch. (In signature Valentino red, natch.) The petals are a versatile embellishment—no need to limit their use just to flan au chèvre, or for meals with an Alpine view. They’re also easy to prepare.
And so, with that in mind: A little Valentino touch for the holidays, direct from Gstaad.
Extra-virgin olive oil
· Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
· Cut off the stem ends of the tomatoes and make a shallow incision in the bottom of each tomato. Lower the tomatoes into boiling water; blanch for 10 seconds. Remove them to an ice-water bath to cool, and remove their skins.
· Cut each tomato vertically into 4 or 6 wedges. Use a sharp knife to cut out the seeds of each tomato, keeping the outer flesh only.
· Place the tomato “petals” on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and salt lightly.
· Dry in the oven, about 2 hours.