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Vidalia Onion Tartlets with Tomatoes

Vidalia Onion Tartlets with Tomatoes

My friend Helen, at Beyond Salmon, stepped outside the bounds of her fish-oriented blog the other day to share her recipe for Tomato Onion Tart, which, according to Helen, "has no equal!" Well, as regular readers of Stephencooks know, I'm a sucker for savory dishes with tomatoes, onions and cheese, so I couldn't wait to try my own version of this great-looking dish.

Of course, once I got started I couldn't help making some changes, as is my wont. (My version's richer, with the addition of bacon, cream and eggs -- okay, it's not health food but whaddyagonnado? I also tossed in some garlic and rosemary -- because E loves them and I mainly cook for her -- and some nutmeg, and I used a sharper cheese than Helen used.) It was great! I still want to try Helen's recipe soon, without modification, because it has a beguiling simplicity: caramelized onions, cheese and the tomatoes that I assume really puts the  spotlight on the onions. Mine had plenty of onion taste and texture, but moderated and influenced by the custard, rosemary, garlic and bacon, which made the onions less central than in Helen's version. (I was interested to note, by the way, that Helen's recipe started with the same procedure as Julia's Onion Soup: long slow simmering of the onions in butter and oil. That's obviously the way to make a good onion dish!)

So thanks to Helen, for posting a beautiful and inspiring dish -- and also for designing the fabulous l0ok of the tart, which I shamelessly copied...

Vidalia Onion Tartlets with Tomatoes

Adapted from Helen Rennnie's recipe as published on Beyond Salmon.

Makes a 10" tart or 6  4"tartlets.

6 partially baked 4" tartlet shells, or a 10" partially baked tart shell (recipe follows)
1-1/4 lb Vidalia onions, sliced thin
4 oz shallots, sliced thin
8 slices thick-cut bacon
2 T butter
4 oz imported sharp Provolone cheese, shredded
4 eggs
1 C heavy cream
salt, hot sauce to taste
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T fresh rosemary, minced
48 grape tomatoes, halved

Sauté the bacon slowly in a heavy pan until starting to crisp. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Add the onions, shallots and butter to the pan and sauté on medium about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Lower heat to medium-low and sauté another 30 - 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have turned a deep golden brown. Remove from heat .

Whisk the eggs and cream together. Add the nutmeg, vinegar, and rosemary, stirring to combine. Season to taste with hot sauce and salt.

Chop the cooked bacon and stir it into the egg mixture, along with the onions and garlic.

Spoon the mixture into the tart shell or tartlet shells. Scatter the cheese over the surface and then arrange the grape tomatoes on the top surface, cut side down.

Bake in a preheated 375º oven about 25 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Broil for 3 - 4 minutes about 5" from the heat to finsh the dish.

Allow the tartlets or tart to rest about 5- 8 minutes before removing from the mold. Serve with a fresh salad and crusty French bread.

Pie Crust - Partially Cooked ("Blind Baked")

Makes a single crust 10" pie or six 4" tartlet shells.

3 C sifted all purpose flour
1-1/2  sticks cold butter
1/3 C vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C + 2 T ice water

Place the flour, butter, shortening, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process briefly, until mixture looks like coarse corn meal.  Add the ice water and pulse processor a few times until dough begins to clump. Do not overprocess. Scrape dough onto a board put in a plastic food storage bag. Working through the bag, quickly press the dough into a ball. Refrigerate dough for at least an hour. (May be frozen at this point for future use.) Roll the ball out to about 1/8" thick. Butter the pie plate or tart pans and line with the dough.

Butter pieces of aluminum foil and line the crust in the tart pans with them, buttered side down. Fill the foil with dried beans or rice to a depth of about an inch -- this will keep the crust from puffing when it is baked empty. Bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated 425º oven. After 15 minutes remove the foil and weights and prick the crust to prevent puffing. When done, crust should just be starting to brown. Allow to cool. Leave the tart pan rings in place.

The crust can be made up to four hours before the dish is assembled and served.


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Oh man oh man oh man oh man. The title popped up first, and just reading it made me hungry. I knew, just KNEW that I should close the page right then, but no, nooooooo, I had to wait (tap, tap, tap--I'm on dail-up) to see the photo. Yep, I was right. Gorgeous. Mouthwatering. Delectable looking. AND NOT IN MY HOUSE. Bum-mer. Oh well. Can't have everything. Great post, by the way. : )

I am *just* going to have to try this. I am true lover tart lover, the more I make them, the more I want them. Your pic is excellent and the recipe very inviting! Did I say I once wanted to own a tart restaurant???

What a gorgeous picture! I love the idea of individual tartlets. Now I am tempted to by little tart shells so that I can try it. I am sure they turned out great although quite different with the custard. My version almost borders on pizza, but more buttery ;)

I know what you mean about improvising. I can't seem to make most of my dishes the same way twice, but this tart is an exception. After trying it in my friend's mom's house years ago, I tried all kinds of variations on this theme only to come back to the original.

Looks simply delish.

Regarding the Julia and Beyond Salmon slow-cooked onions, google Marcella Hazan's smothered onions, which is similiar, but involves a bit of wine and a longer, more hands-off cooking time.

It's very interesting that you often use unusual ingredients that I often see at the grocery but too afraid to try. Thank you for sharing :)

Tried this tart this weekend. As I was waiting, and waiting and waiting for my onions to reach that lovely golden brown called for in the recipe, I wondered if the wait was worth it. Well, it definitely was. Not only was the tart marvelous, but my house smelled woderful - perfect for a cold N.E. weekend!

Because I can't ever leave anything alone I added a half teaspoon of black pepper to the crust for a little kick. This recipe will be added to my "make for company" box.

I found your site recently and I'm amazed!!! I just love the droolworthy pictures. I love the idea of these little tarts and can't wait to try out your recipe.


I made Sara Moulton's onion tart many times. Love the gruyere cheese in it. When Vidalia onions come to Texas, I will make this tart. Be good too with Texas 1015 sweet onions.

Thank you!

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