The inverted apple tart idea, put on the map by another Loire institution, the Tatin sisters of the Sologne, lends itself brilliantly to savoury applications too, especially with onions, shallots or fennel, all of which caramelise like a dream. The recipe below, which packs an extra comfort blanket of Roquefort cheese, is from the French recipe website Marmiton. All I've added are a knob of butter to the oil, and some fresh thyme and a dash of balsamic vinegar to the onions at the cooking stage.
Prep time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 20 minutes
- 6 large mild onions (red or white, not killer English)
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme, washed and dried
- plain olive oil, for frying plus a knob of butter
- 1 dessertspoon icing sugar
- a dash of aged Balsamic or old sherry vinegar
- 150g Roquefort, or similarly creamy blue cheese
- 2 eggs, beaten
- a sheet of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
Preheat the oven to 180C (Gas 6).
If you have a cast-iron tatin pan, so much the better. If not, choose a round gratin tin or oven-proof frying pan measuring 22-24cm in diameter and use it as a template for your pastry circle, allowing a border of about 3cm.
Peel the onions, halve and slice thickly into half-moons.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Brown the onions and as soon as they take on a nice golden colour, sprinkle with the thyme leaves, stripped from their stems, add the icing sugar and a spoonful of the vinegar and let them caramelise slowly until they are soft and the syrupy juices have resorbed. Set aside.
In a saucepan on a very gentle heat, let the Roquefort melt, stirring all the while. When it's melted, add the two beaten eggs.
In your cooking pan, assemble the caramelised onions in one layer. Top with the cheese and egg mixture and finally, drape over the pastry, tucking it into the circumference of the pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is burnished.
Let the tart cool in its tin until it can comfortably be handled. Put it on a pastry board and run a palette knife around the circumference of the tin to help dislodge the tart. Finally put a serving plate over the tin. Put one hand under the board and the other atop the plate and carefully invert the whole shebang. You may find one or two refuseniks among the onions, Just prise them loose with a spatula and replace them on top of the tart.
Serve at room temperature with a rocket salad.
You'll need a Vouvray with a sweetness code of 5 to serve with this.
> View the Domaine Huet archive Vouvrays
Janet Wynne Evans