Goodness knows I have my favorite recipes. But then I'll be browsing through a magazine at the dentist's office and see a new way of preparing Peruvian goat cabbage that catches my attention, and I'll surreptitiously tear out the page, trying not to attract the attention of my fellow denizens of the purgatory that is the waiting room.
That was the case when I was clicking around on Culinate.com and ran across a recipe for an onion pie from Nigella Lawson's book "How to Be a Domestic Goddess." I have to backtrack and say that I've been looking for a reasonable facsimile of an Alsatian onion tart that we had many years ago in France. This search has dragged on for some time and I have yet to find one that faithfully reproduces that region's melding of French and German traditions, with just the right amount of richness in the onions and butteriness in the crust.
Popping it in the oven
This one looked simple enough and had definite possibilites, so I came home, counted my onions and forged ahead. Browning the onions took the longest, though it was fascinating to watch them go from stiff and white to translucent and burnished a dark gold. Then it was just a matter of mixing up the simple dough, patting it out and sticking it in the oven. And it even turned out of the pie plate perfectly.
The crust, now on the bottom, was foccacia-like rather than French, but it was light and supported the onions nicely. If anything, I'd add another onion, but all in all this made a nice main course with a salad, or would be a very nice featured appetizer for a more formal dinner.
Supper Onion Pie
Adapted by Matthew Amster-Burton from Nigella Lawson's "How to Be a Domestic Goddess"
1 1/2 lb. yellow onions [about 3, but I'd use four - KB], halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 oz. sharp cheddar [I used one cup - KB], shredded
9 oz. (1 2/3 cups) flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Scant 1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9-inch pie pan. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and softened, about 35 minutes. Stir in the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the pie pan and scatter the cheese on top. Set aside while you make the dough.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and remaining cheese in a mixing bowl. Combine the milk, butter, mustard and egg in a measuring cup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until they come together into a dry, shaggy dough. Let the dough rest for a couple of minutes to hydrate, then turn it out onto a work surface. Knead a few turns and press the dough into a circle roughly the size of the pie pan.
Place the circle of dough over the cheese and onions and press the edges against the pan to seal. Bake 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue baking about 10 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for five minutes, then cut around the edge and invert onto a serving plate.