Saturday, December 3, 2011

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Tart

I was watching Anna & Kristina one evening earlier this week.  Don't ask me why, as it's not a show that I particularly love.  But I was bored and there was nothing else on tv.  They were taste testing a bunch of Oprah's recipes from The Oprah Magazine Cookbook, which I knew nothing about.  Clearly, anything associated with Oprah is typically gold, so I figured that her recipes had to be pretty good.  

Though Anna & Kristina didn't taste taste this particular recipe during their show, they did mention that it was fabulous.  A quick google search later, followed by a walk to the grocery store, and I was armed with everything I needed to whip this together for dinner last night.

I thought that the tart was absolutely delicious.  Jérôme didn't like it at all.  Turns out he doesn't really like thyme.  Who'd have known....

The recipe calls for whole fat ricotta.  Our grocery store had three different percentages of fat - 4%, 7% and I can't recall what the highest was.  I opted to use the 7% and it was yummy with that.  I also just used my food processor recipe for a pastry, as I find store-bought pie shells pretty disgusting.  Part of being married to a French man and spoiled by excellent French pastry at least a few times a year, I suppose.

As I didn't quite have enough time to make this all in one shot, I made the bacon and onions one night while Logan was eating.  As he screamed "see, see", wanting to watch the onions cook and then proceeded to cry along with the rest of us, as the onions were pretty darned strong.  I then stuffed them in the fridge to be used the next day.  I then whipped together the ricotta mixture yesterday morning as I was preparing the pastry and then put the whole thing together just before dinner.

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 small onions, cut in half lengthwise and thickly sliced
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 C whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
freshly ground pepper
1/4 C plus 1 tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 (8-inch) frozen pie or tart shell

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Cook bacon in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat until fat is mostly rendered and bacon is crisp around edges.  Transfer to paper towels to drain, and set aside, leaving 1 tbsp. bacon fat in pan.  Crumble bacon after cooking.

2.  Add onions to pan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, about 8 minutes.  Turn heat to medium-low and add 1 tbsp. thyme and pinch of salt.  Continue to cook until onions are soft and deep golden brown, about 20 minutes more.

3.  Meanwhile, combine ricotta, egg yolk, 1/2 tsp. salt, pinch of pepper, 1 tsp. thyme and 1/4 C Parmigiana in a small bowl.  Stir well to combine.

4.  Spread ricotta mixture evenly on the bottom of tart shell.  Arrange onions on top of ricotta and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. Parmigiano.  Sprinkle bacon over top.  Transfer to oven and bake until edges of filling are golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

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