It’s coming up to the end of the month. This means two things, the coffers are a little low but there are lots of random bits of food lying around. Rather than just go shopping this morning as I often do, I decided to carry out a thorough stock audit in an effort to use up all those bits and bobs that were lurking in the fridge and freezer, to not buy what I didn’t need and to use up any veg before it went off.
I found some rather nice casserole and things in the freezer and, about 1.5 kilos of onions (among other veg) which were right at the tipping point of ending up in the compost bin.
What do you do with that much onions? Well I guess soup is an option, but I wasn’t really in an onion soup kind of mood, however, I also discovered a packet of puff pastry, the ends of a few nice bits of unpasteurised cheese that were about to turn and a half used pot of creme fraiche. So I decided a tart was in order. This is going to be my husband and I’s lunch for the week, better than a few quid a day on a sandwich.
Serves 12 (or 8 big pieces)
About 1kg of onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 packet of ready-made puff pastry (or make your own)
150g creme fraiche
50g grated unpasteurised Comte (or Gruyère or similar)
50g Baronet, rind removed, chopped into smallish pieces (or Reblechon or similar)
50g grated unpasteurised cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pour a good glug of olive oil into a large heavy bottomed frying pan and heat over a low-medium heat. Add your thinly sliced onions and cook gently, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft, sweet and golden, about an hour. Honestly, when you cook onions this way you’ll almost never believe they are onions when you eat them. I first read to cook them this way in the Moro Cookbook and seriously could not believe that you could or would want to cook onions for an hour. You really must use quite a gentle heat, so they don’t burn, and also a decent glug of oil. If you see the onions catching at all, turn down the heat and add a little more oil. You won’t regret the time it takes.
While the onions are cooking, make the savoury “custard”. Take your eggs and beat lightly, add in the creme fraiche and mix well until all combined, stir in the grated cheeses, but not the Baronet or similar, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. There is not a lot of the custard, but this is not a quiche, the onions are the main player.
Then roll out your puff pastry to fit your tray. I used a tray approximately 14 inches by 8 inches. Grease the tray with a little olive oil and then line with your pastry. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
When the onions are done spread them evenly over the pastry. Then pour on your custard to give a fairly even distribution. There is not loads so go sparingly and then spread around with a palette knife or spatula to cover the onions. Scatter the Baronet pieces. Pop the tart into the middle of your hot oven and bake for around 20 minutes or until puffy and golden brown on top.
The tart filling does puff up quite a lot while cooking but will settle pretty quickly as soon as you take it out of the oven. Serve hot with a green salad, some tomatoes and a chilled glass of white wine for a delicious lunch. Or, slice and chill then eat for a packed lunch, better than sandwiches! My estimate is that the total cost for ingredients for this dish was less than £4 and I cut 8 large slices for lunch, so not bad for 50p per portion.