Monday, June 13, 2011

Caramelized Onion and Cauliflower Tart

The very first foodblog I ever read was the one coming from a small kitchen in New York City and it wasn't until 2008. I have been a loyal fan of hers ever since. And she never disappoints. I am talking, of course of The smitten kitchen.

And when she tells you to roast some cauliflower, caramelize onions, layer both in a buttery crust and top it of with an enormous amount of different cheeses, well, it's exactly what you do. Because it will be good. 

The other day, I went into the garden, knowing my fridge was full of butter, heavy cream, mascarpone, gruyère cheese and parmesan, and picked the prettiest and biggest cauliflower available. We are growing a variety of vegetables down there: fennel, cabbages, cauliflower and lettuces underneath some lemon trees. (Not bragging, just very happy about it.)

I then went upstairs, mixed butter with flour and an egg to make a crust, roasted the cauliflower and caramelized an onion. When you read the list of ingredients and see the amount of dairy involved you might shy away from making it. But don't. Make it anyway. Serve it with a big green salad to ease the guilt and enjoy. It's crazy good.

It's a bit of a trickster tart, because it tastes so good and not heavy that you want to eat it all.  Until you remember the mascarpone.

Caramelized Onion and Cauliflower Tarte

Caramelized Onion and Cauliflower Tart
adapted from smittenkitchen.com who adapted it from Bon Appetit magazine

For the tart shell (which doesn't need par-baking!)
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (90grams) butter 
1 large egg

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, starch and salt. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or two knives until the butter is in tiny bits. Add the egg and mix until the dough comes together.  If that doesn't happen, turn the dough on a working surface and knead until it comes together. 
Roll the dough out 12" and place in a 9" (just under 25cm) pie or tart pan. Press the dough down to remove air bubbles. 
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling
1 small head cauliflower (about 1 pound) (MM: My garden cauliflower was only 350grams, but fit perfectly into the pie pan after roasting), cut into florets
3 1/2 tablespoons oil
salt, pepper
1 large onion, halved lengthwise, cut into thin slices
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 large eggs, at room temperature
7 - 8oz mascarpone (240 - 270gram)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or black, or more according to your taste)
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese (2.5oz.)
1/2 cup grated parmesan (1.5oz) (MM: I just realized now that the recipe calls for 1/3 cup, oops.)

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Toss the cauliflower in 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper and roast on a baking sheet for 15 minutes before turning florets over and roast for another 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Let cool.

2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F/175°C. 

3. In a medium sized pan heat the remaining 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil and cook the onions for 30 to 40 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally to avoid burning the onions (like me, duh). Let cool slightly.

4. Brush the bottom and sides of the crust with the mustard. Spread the onions over the crust and arrange the cauliflower on top of that.

5. Whisk together the eggs, mascarpone, Gruyère cheese and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower and sprinkle with parmesan.

6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the tart is golden brown and set in the middle. Transfer to a cooling rack and let stand for 15 minutes.


7. Serve with a big green salad to balance it all (I served mine with a green salad with avocado which, in a way, defeated the purpose I guess).

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