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Vidalia Onion Tart a perfect dish for dinner, appetizers

Holly James shows off her sweet and savory Vidalia Onion Tart at home. You can make a full pie or appetizers. She freezes the onions so she can make the recipe any time of the year.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Holly James shows off her sweet and savory Vidalia Onion Tart at home. You can make a full pie or appetizers. She freezes the onions so she can make the recipe any time of the year.

Who: Holly James of Largo, 48, retired physical therapy assistant, mother of two, married for 25 years.

What: Vidalia Onion Tart

About the recipe: Her family loves onions, so it was no surprise that the first time she made an onion tart, it was a huge success. Her father requested seconds and thirds, and even her two toddlers adored it. But it was difficult to make so she experimented, starting with a recipe from Nathalie Dupree and modifying it into a version easier to make yet just as tasty.

"It's savory but yet it's sweet," she said. "It's topped with cheddar cheese so there's that play on the sweet from the onions and a little bit of the sharpness with the cheddar cheese."

Tips: Because Vidalia onion season lasts from April to August, James freezes the onions so she can make the recipe year-round. She slices the onions, spreads them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and freezes them for a few hours before storing them in two-cup portions in freezer bags. They'll keep frozen for up to two months.

Variation: An alternative is to substitute sweet onions for the Vidalia. If you do, stir in about a teaspoon of sugar halfway through the caramelization process because nothing's as sweet as a Vidalia onion, she said.

Emily Young, Times correspondent

If you have a recipe that you would like featured, or would like to nominate other home cooks and their dishes, email jkeeler@tampabay.com with a name and daytime phone number. Include SIGNATURE DISH in the subject line. Or mail to Taste, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

>>EASY

Vidalia Onion Tart

1 pie crust (homemade or ready made)

3 cups (3 or 4) thinly sliced Vidalia onions

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups sharp cheddar grated

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup heavy cream

In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. While it is heating, slice the onions. The thinner and more uniform in size, the better. Saute the onions for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently so they don't burn and adding another tablespoon of oil if the pan gets dry. They are done when they are golden and soft. Add ½ teaspoon of salt.

While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the pie crust until it loses translucency, about 10 minutes. A 9-inch tart pan with fluted edges and a removable bottom works best, but a glass or ceramic 9-inch tart pan also works.

Put the onions into the crust in an even layer.

Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with the heavy cream.

Bake 25 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

Cut into wedges and serve.

To make appetizers, cut the pie crust into 2-inch circles with a cookie cutter that has been dipped in flour. Put each circle into a greased mini muffin tin and mold it so it goes up the sides. Put half a teaspoon of the onions in each section, top with cheese and bake at 400 degrees 12-15 minutes or until the crusts looks golden and the cheese is browned.

Source: Holly James of Largo

Vidalia Onion Tart a perfect dish for dinner, appetizers 01/08/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 3:30am]

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