Monday, 12 April 2010

If only they didn't take so long.....

I am reasonably patient when it comes to cooking, I often enjoy the process as much as I enjoy the eating, but when it comes to caramelising onions I have to say patience is not my strong point.
I know you can buy them in a jar, I know you can add sugar or syrup to help them along but there is a satisfaction to getting the job done in the most traditional way and I had loads of onions that needed using. Firstly you need loads to get any kind of volume once they are cooked and then they take for ever to soften down and release all their natural, delicious sweetness. The finished product is well worth the wait, providing that you don't rush them, give up to soon or cook them to high and end up burning them but you could make an entire banquet in the time they take.
There is a tried and tested recipe that hails from the kitchen of my mum, although I think she adapted the idea from a restaurant menu some years ago, that has become a staple of summer eating and entertaining for us both. The Caramelised Onion and Feta Cheese Tart is always a winner, great with salad and a baked potato for a tasty meal, brilliant to cut into portions for easy lunch box filling and perfect for larger scale entertaining and buffet style meals.
I always use the standard 2 x times flour to fat method for the pastry and cold water as needed but I have also made it with bought short crust when time is short and it doesn't suffer too much for it.
It usually takes 4 to 6 onions, caramelised laboriously on a low heat with for a long, long time until they are beautiful golden and sticky. These are then spread across the pastry case when it is ready to cook. I bake blind for about 20 minutes first, but I know some people risk a soggy bottom...
Depending on how cheesy you want to make it the next job is to simply chop up a packet of feta cheese in to bite size chunks and sprinkle on top of the onions.
Beat 3 eggs into 300 ml of milk and pour over the top and bake at about 180 for 25 - 30 mins.
You can add herbs into the egg mixture if you want to add some colour and another flavour, it works well with parsley, oregano and chives but is good without too.
The sticky sweetness of the onions with the extreme saltiness of the creamy feta gives your palette a real treat, I hope you agree.
Enjoy it for your tea tonight.

1 comment:

Anne said...

That sounds delicious! I adore caramelised onions but agree its a labour of love!