Monday, June 4, 2012

Trying to Convince Friends to Become Vegetarians...

is shockingly easy. When you trick them.

Mysteriously, since the vegetarian kick resumed last summer, several friends have become converts. How, you ask?

We're actually not sure but at a recent Sur La Table cooking class (strongly recommended), the menu was (shockingly) all vegetarian. And delicious, I might add. Not a single friend with carnivorous intentions was dismayed at the evening's dishes. (Maybe because we didn't have to do the cleaning up part?)

Just check out this vegetarian recipe for a Proven├žal-style tart. It's actually shockingly easy to make. Our off-dry Riesling pairing was a huge hit, too.

 (So much so our instructor kept talking about her famous lov-ahs. Wink, wink.)

Proven├žal Caramelized Onion, Gruyere and Olive Tart

Serves 4 as a light main course, 6-8 as an appetizer

1 sheet (9 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed (keep refrigerated until ready to use)

1 pound (about 4) Vidalia or yellow onions, cut into ¼-inch thick lengthwise slices  (about 4 cups sliced)
1 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teasp fresh rosemary leaves, plus extra tiny sprigs for garnishing
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for serving
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, finely grated
6-8 kalamata or good black olives, pitted halved
Fleur de sel for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 400F Line an unrimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

To make the onion filling, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and heat until butter foams. When foaming subsides, add the sliced onions and a pinch of fine sea salt, and toss to coat.

Add thyme sprigs and reduce heat to low. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized: they should be very soft and a deep golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. You may need to add a bit of water to prevent sticking.

While the filling cooks, roll the puff pastry on a lightly floured board to an 11-inch square. Lift it gently onto the prepared baking sheet, then prick the dough in several places with a fork (but not the rim). Refrigerate until ready to assemble the tart.

Once the onions are caramelized, remove the skillet from the heat, discard thyme sprigs and add the rosemary. Stir in the grated cheese and mix well to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then leave to cool until luke warm, at least 15 minutes.

Distribute the onion mixture evenly over the pastry and arrange olives evenly on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden on top and underneath al the way to the center (lift up to check.)

Transfer the tart to a cutting board, scatter with the extra rosemary sprigs and garnish with sprigs of thyme. Serve warm cut into squares.

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