Okay, I have to admit that Suzanne Goin was a bit of a tease. Yes, I used her recipe…and no I did not reveal. The tart, a resounding success when I cooked it for inlaws in Cincinnati this past weekend, is the most simple and deluxe recipes that one could dream of creating and my muse, Suzanne did this.
I believe the secret to making this tart is caramelized onions. These babies when done correctly add a sweet, rich intensity to the tart. The process takes some time (10-15 minutes) yet it’s worth every second. For this recipe I used 2 very large white onions sliced. I have a 14 inch saute pan that I like to use because it gives me a lot of area so that more of the ingredients hit the hot surface. (works well for mushrooms too)
The other important element is a very hot pan. I’m sure you’ve read this before in recipes, “heat pan for 3 minutes” and you think that it’s a typo. It’s not. In fact, I put the pan on to heat when I start slicing the onions so it’s more like 5 minutes of heat. It has taken Nahid a good three years to come to terms with my practice of always really heating pans.
So once the pan is hot, go for a full 4 minutes, add the canola oil and then a tbs of butter. The butter should foam and begin to brown. This is when you want to add the onions and spread to an even layer. Stir them around so they get coated with the oil. Keep the heat high and stir every thirty seconds or so. The trick is to get the onions to caramelize yet not burn. Once the onions start to turn brown that’s when the magic begins.
To assist in my goal of beautifully caramelized onions I add water. Why water? The water combines and loosens the beautiful amber color off the pan and into the onions. Don’t worry it disappears every 4 minutes. To achieve the rich golden color and most of all flavor you’ll have to add water two or three times.
This is the most challenging step of the entire process. Because I’m in love with this tart I’m going to keep a container of these onions at the ready.
As promised the recipe ala Sunday Suppers at Lucques.
- 2 large white onions sliced
- 1 tbs fresh thyme
- 1 sheet puff pastry defrosted (I’ve tried Trader Joe’s brand and far prefer Pepperidge Farms)
- 3 heirloom tomatoes of varying colors but similar size
- 1/4 cup Nicoise olives pitted
- 1 tbs capers
- 1 egg
- Caramelize onions add s&p, thyme chill
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Place sheet of puff pastry on parchment lined baking sheet
- Score an eight of an inch border around the edge of the puff pastry. Brush with beaten egg. (I made light x’s around the edge)
- Slice tomatoes into round slices
- When onions are cooled spread on the puff pastry leaving the border exposed.
- Place sliced tomatoes on top. (I cut the slices in half so that I could have more tomatoes and color. Sometimes one must embrace one’s inner tyrant)
- Sprinkle olives and capers on top
- Season with salt and pepper
- Bake for 20 minutes.