caramelized onion tart with parmesan
It was an exciting weekend here at Love Apple. The farm and Chef David Kinch of Manresa (the two-Michelin star restaurant for which we grow all our produce) are featured in the August issue of Bon Appetit, with a spread that includes photos of our veggies and garden terraces as well as recipes Chef Kinch has crafted based on what we harvest for him each week. I haven’t been to Manresa yet (it’s a tad above the farm apprentice budget), but I can’t wait to try the recipe for these roasted cucumber sandwiches—particularly because I watched Chef Kinch roast our farm cucumbers this past Sunday afternoon.
The monthly cooking classes taught by Chef Kinch and Pim are events to anticipate—I was lucky enough to assist in the June class my first day as an apprentice, and since then I’ve been eagerly waiting for my next opportunity to watch Chef and Pim at work (while washing 100 or so dishes of course). This Sunday’s class did not disappoint: it was held outside on the sunny farm patio, and the menu included grilled rack of lamb with fresh herbs, a fregola salad with roasted squash, fennel, and cucumbers, and a fig and plum tart smeared with frangipane (my new favorite condiment: almonds, sugar, egg and butter). I did my best to listen closely while bustling around the patio chopping herbs and collecting utensils, and I was well-rewarded when Chef Kinch gave us some advice that I immediately filed in my mental favorites folder: “Good cooking is the judicious use of salt.” (Tip of the day: if you salt your dish at multiple stages during cooking—instead of throwing in several liberal pinches at the end, like I do—it results in an increased complexity of flavor from salt cooked for various lengths of time).
The class also ended up giving me a surprise chance to display my (non-existent) tart-making skills. While the students mingled with wine before their farm tour, Pim came up to me and, looping her arm conspiratorially through mine, declared that I would be in charge of duplicating her tart in the kitchen after she made one outside for the students. Eyes peeled I watched her every move, then I hurried inside and attempted to reenact her expert dough folds and arrangement of plums and figs. Unfortunately compared to hers (above), mine (below) looked decidedly rustic, but what it lacked in prettiness it made up for in almondy, figgy tastiness.
Fortunately for me, that was not the last of the tarts that entered my day—with Pim’s leftover dough from class, Zach and I set about making two more tarts for our nightly apprentices’ feast. One was the plum dessert from class, but the other was a throwback to my second night on the farm, when we made the onion tart Chef and Pim had cooked for the students in June. Flaky pastry, buttery sweet caramelized onions, toasty melted parmesan… need I say more? To top it off, our tarts baked alongside Phillip’s enchiladas and roasted potatoes. When every oven rack is filled, you know it’s a good night.
(p.s. A friend was curious about my soundtrack to the farm, and it would definitely have to be this. Enjoy!)
Caramelized Onion Tart with Parmesan
(Adapted from June’s Day Off Dinners with Chef Kinch and Pim)
There are two secrets to this easy tart, and they are Pim’s recipe for pastry dough, and caramelizing your onions for much longer than you would imagine.
1 round of dough made using Pim’s recipe, chilled
3-4 large onions, sliced into rounds
1-2 Tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
fresh grated parmesan
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface, shaping roughly into a circle before transferring to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the onions, stirring regularly until they are dark golden brown (about 45 or so minutes). Spread your caramelized onions on the dough, then fold in the edges and brush the dough with your beaten egg mixed with a little water. Finally, sprinkle your entire tart with the parmesan cheese and bake for 45 minutes.