cauliflower and caramelized onion tart

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Vegetarian
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I was the kind of picky-eating child that I never hope to raise. My parents had to clap for me at the end of every meal to reward me for finishing my food. They tried everything: turning my fish sticks into a rail road around my plate that went “choo-choo” into my mouth; calling every food they made “my favorite”; calling my least favorite foods “baby-versions” of real things so I could identify with them, like broccoli, which were “baby trees.” I had a few favorites they could count on when they were too tired to be creative about why I would like what was on the table: spaghetti, cheese pizza, and cauliflower. On white things alone did I munch without a fight. Thankfully, as it turns out, cauliflower is very nutritious. Who would have realized that these little things carry 77% of our daily vitamin C needs? Last night, we made use of a head of cauliflower and made this incredible tart using a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen. The five year old inside me clapped after I ate it.

cauliflower

Yields 8 servings

1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound) or 1 pound of a larger head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch flowerets (Romanesco cauliflower, especially orange or green, would be a pretty substitute)
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon truffle oil or a few pinches of truffle salt (optional) (see Notes below)
1 refrigerated pie crust or a homemade tart shell (recipe below)
1 large onion, halved lenghtwise and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 large eggs
1 (7- to 8- ounce) container mascarpone cheese (see Note below for suggested substitutions)
1/2 cup whipping cream (although any low- or full-fat milk or light cream will work as well)
1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese (Swiss or Comté are great swaps)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl. Spread on rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast 15 minutes before turning florets over and roasting until brown and tender, another 15 minutes in my oven, 25 minutes according to the original recipe. Cool cauliflower then thinly slice (a direction I entirely missed when originally make this; I left my florets in chunks and enjoyed it that way) and drizzle with truffle oil or sprinkle with truffle salt, if using. (See notes below about these ingredients.) Reduce temperature to 350°F.

If using store bought pie crust, press it onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Line crust with foil, fill with pie weights and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and weights then bake until crust is golden, about 5 additionally minutes. Press crust back with the back of a fork if bubbles form. Cool crust and maintain oven temperature.

[When using the homemade tart crust (recipe below), I do not find that it needs to be par-baked. It is thin and rather dry so it bakes up pretty crisp. Store bought pie doughs are a little bit softer, so the par-baking keeps it from getting soggy.]

Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until onion is a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. This took me just shy of 30 minutes, though the original recipe suggests 40. Cool slightly.

Use a knife or brush to spread the bottom and sides of crust with mustard. Spread onion over crust. Arrange cauliflower over the onion. Set the tart on a rimmed baking sheet (to protect against leaks). Whisk eggs, mascarpone, cream and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in Gruyère. Pour mixture over filling in tart pan, sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until tart is golden and center is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 15 minutes before serving.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s