Cooking at: 350 F / 180 C / Gas Mark 4
Alsatian Onion Tart
A delicious quiche-like "pie" that costs only the price of a cup of milk, 2 eggs and a few onions to make. This is a good week-day dish as it is economical, does not require much of your attention, and you are very likely to have all the ingredients on hand without a dash to the shops on the way home from work. Slices of this make great leftovers for work lunches. The onions come out really sweet.
- Wash and peel the onions, and slice them into thin rings. Put them in a large frying pan with the oil over medium heat, and let very slowly cook covered for about 30 minutes. Stir frequently so they don't burn. If you like your onions more carmelized, you can cook a bit longer (as we did in the photo above, but you want them at least golden.)
- Meanwhile, make a pie crust, and line a large (either wide or deep) pie tin or oven-safe dish with the pie crust. Set aside.
- Now make a white sauce. Put the butter and the flour together in a large measuring jug, along with just under 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg (or pepper if you don't have nutmeg, or a bit of both if you wish!) Zap in microwave until butter is melted, remove, stir, then put back in microwave and zap until white froth appears on top. Now stir or whisk in 1 cup (250 ml) milk. Put back in microwave, and zap until sauce has thickened -- check and stir it every 60 seconds for the first minute or two, after that watch it like a hawk so it doesn't boil over on you. Remove from microwave, let cool a tidge for 3 to 5 minutes, then stir or whisk in the 2 eggs. (Beat them lightly first separately if you wish.)
- When the onions are done, stir the white sauce in, then transfer all with a spatula to your prepared pie shell.
- Bake in a slow oven 30 to 45 minutes or until the tip of a knife comes out clean. Remove from oven, let rest covered 5 to 10 minutes to firm up, then serve piping hot in slices with a salad, or whatever you wish.
We use a low, shallow 1 inch (2.5 cm) high x 11 inch / 28 cm false bottom Quiche Pan. This requires 1 1/2 pie crusts to line, made as follows: 1 1/2 cups flour, few pinches of salt, 1/2 cup shortening, blended, and then just enough water to bind. If you have a smaller in width pie tin, 1 pie crust will do it, and maybe just do 5 onions. For a calorie-wise version of this, use 3 or 4 layers of thawed phyllo-pastry as the crust. You don't need cream for this; milk is just fine. The name in French for this recipe is "Tarte à l'oignon à l'Alsacienne", meaning "onion pie in the style of Alsace (France)." Who knows what the authentic recipe is in matters such as this; some versions add "lardon" cubes (small cubes of bacon-like ham), some call for shredded gruyère to be stirred in. We've presented the base, foundation version so you can do what you like -- or do nothing extra at all. In the picture, you see a small handful of grated Swiss cheese tossed on top in the last 15 minutes of cooking. [Note: you may also see some versions calling for a mixture of egg and crème fraîche instead of the white sauce.]
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