We are starting to feel like we live in San Diego- it has been beautiful, warm, and sunny for WEEKS here in Long Island. We have been able to enjoy eating outside- wonderful. Last night we ate this onion, cheese, and bacon tart outside with roasted asparagus and red wine. GREAT. It was super-flavorful and the house smelled AMAZING while it was in the oven. This recipe was adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison, via the New York Times.
Yield: 4 main course servings, or 6 to 8 appetizer servings
For the filling:
- 3 large Vidalia onions, or other sweet onions
- 2 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into small pieces, optional
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 heaping teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 2 pinches dried
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
For the crust:
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole-wheat
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small bits
1. To make the crust, put flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the cutting blade. Add 6 tablespoons butter and pulse until butter has broken into small, pebble-size pieces, about 10 times. Drizzle in ice water until dough looks clumpy and damp, about 10 seconds. (You’ll use about 3 tablespoons or less if the butter was soft.) Form dough into a disk or a rectangle to correspond to the shape pan you’re using. You have a few choices: a 9-inch tart pan, a square tart pan, or a rectangular one (11 x 8 1/2 inches), all with removable bottoms. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate.
2. To make the filling, cut onions in half, peel them, and finely dice them. Heat pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons butter. When melted, add onions, thyme and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes in all. At first the onions will be very moist, but after 10 minutes their water will have cooked off and they’ll begin to color. They needn’t be caramelized, but just take on a faint golden hue; I prefer them caramelized. When done, let them cool slightly. Taste for salt — they’ll be very sweet so you might want to add more — and season well with pepper.
3. If you’re using bacon, place diced pieces over paper towels on a microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until nearly crisp.
4. While onions cook, whisk eggs with heavy cream (or crème fraîche) and milk. Stir in cooled onions, cheese and bacon, if using.
5. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough to fit your chosen tart pan, then drape dough in pan. Neatly press dough up the sides of the pan and shape it. Set it on a sheet pan. When oven is ready, pour onion mixture into tart pan, even out mixture, then bake until surface is golden and browned in places, 35 minutes on convection. Let cool to warm before cutting into slices and serving.