A Glutton With Brains

"A gourmet is just a glutton with brains." Philip W. Haberman Jr.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brocolli and Caramelized Onion Tart

Last night I made a really good tart that I want to share with you. I got the idea from one of my favorite food blogs, smittenkitchen.com. She made a Cauliflower and Onion tart, originally from Bon Appetit, but I didn't have a few of the ingredients so I decided to improvise. Plus, J doesn't really like cauliflower so I didn't want to torture him with an entire tart full of it. Not to mention the giant bag of broccoli I bought at Costco last week that I needed to use. The smittenkitchen version also had some pretty fatty ingredients like whole cream and mascarpone. Mascarpone is of course delicious but since we are trying to eat better I decided to change that too. I really love the versatility of this recipe. You can change a lot about it and it's still very good. There is a recipe for a pie crust below but you can use your own just as easily. Plus, it lasts for a few days in the fridge. I had some for breakfast this morning. So I will share with you what I did but feel free to experiment with this recipe. Sorry I don't have pictures for this one, I made this before I decided to start the blog but I still thought it was worth sharing.

1 lb of brocolli cut into 1-inch flowerets

4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

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


7- to 8- ounces (about half a container) of part skim ricotta

1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)

1/4 teaspoon ground white or black pepper

Pinch of ground nutmeg

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (Parmesan would also work)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Toss broccoli with 2 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl. Spread on rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast 10 minutes before turning florets over and roasting until brown and tender, another 5 minutes in my oven. Cool brocolli and sprinkle with salt, if using. 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 or pie pan. Line crust with foil, fill with pie weights (or dried beans) 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.

If using recipe below, reduce cooking time to 10 minutes with foil and weights and then an additional 5 minutes with foil and weights removed.

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. Cool slightly.

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

Do ahead: Onions can be caramelized, dough can be parbaked (or rolled and pressed into pan, if homemade) and broccoli can be roasted a day ahead. Store a parbaked crust at room temperature, a rolled-out unbaked crust and cauliflower and onion in the fridge. Broccoli and onion should be kept in separate containers. Whole tart can be made and baked a day in advance, reheated in a low oven before serving.

A Great Savory Tart Shell
Adapted from Le Pain Quotidien,

1 1/4 cups flour


1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch


1/4 teaspoon salt


6 tablespoons butter, diced


1 egg

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or two knives until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg and mix with a fork until a dough forms. If this does not happen easily, toss it out onto a counter and knead it together. This dough is rather tough but with a little elbow grease, it does come together nicely. (Dough can also be made in a food processor, or as the original recipe suggests, in a stand mixer.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan and press to remove any air bubbles. Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Proceed with recipe above.

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