France has always been a happy and comfortable place for me to visit. There is an approach to the day-to-day lifestyle that appeals to me. From Paris to the small mountain villages above the Cote d’Azure, I am always excited by the history, architecture, food, and , of course, the incredible people watching.
Here is a dish inspired by my travels in France and my American guru, Julia Child, who perfected her cooking skills at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
Preparing the modest onion with the same technique as the famous French dessert, apple tarte tatin, adding a hint of brown sugar, herbs du Provence, and a splash of red wine, caramelizes and transforms the basic root vegetable. Wrapping it all up in a buttery crust turns it into a gorgeous dish that can be served warm or at room temperature as a light lunch, dinner or appetizer.
|Red Onion Tarte Tatin|
- 6-8 small red onions
- 1 package of puff pastry or a half batch of all butter pastry dough
- 1 4-ounce log of goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ cup red wine or sherry wine
- ½ teaspoon Herbs du Provence
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Peel and cut the ends off the onions, approximately ¼ inch from the end.
- Melt butter in an 8-inch cast iron or heavy bottom pan over medium heat.
- Add about half of the wine and the brown sugar and swirl it around in the butter.
- Lower the heat to low-medium.
- Place the onions into the pan with one of the cut sides down.
- Allow the onions to sauté for 4-5 minutes and then gently turn them over. As the centers of the onions begin to pop up, simply press them down with the back of a spatula.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, turn the onions over again, add the rest of the wine to the pan and give it a swirl.
- Cover the pan and cook the onions for another five minutes, pressing down on them occasionally. Eventually, the caramelized onion juices and butter will begin to run through the onions as you press down on them and the cut sides of the onions will begin to brown.
- Turn the onions one more time and cook for about another 4-5 minutes, so they have cooked for a total of 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Place the most attractive cut side of each onion down in the pan.
- Press down firmly with the spatula. Allow the onions to cool slightly.
- Season the tops of onions with salt, pepper and herbs.
- Roll out the pastry dough or puff pastry to about 10 inches around.
- Take the round of dough and place it over the top of the onions and very quickly, being very careful that your fingers don’t touch the sides of the hot pan, tuck in the edges of the dough around the onions and along the sides of the pan.
- Cut a couple of steam vents.
- Bake the tarte for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove the pan from the oven, place a serving dish over the top of the pan, and quickly and carefully, flip the pan and plate.
- Gently remove the pan and arrange any onions as necessary.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the tarte with goat cheese and fresh herbs. Can be served warm or room temperature.