Friday, March 11, 2016

Cabbage and Spring Onion Tart

Last Year's Post:  Mushroom & Pea Risotto
Two Years Ago:   Sausage Rolls with Mustard Cheese Dipping Sauce

Before you turn up your nose at the idea of a cabbage tart, let me tell you that I'm not all that huge of a cabbage fan either.  It's just so cabbage-y.  But when cabbage is slowly cooked down it turns into something wonderful, both tender and sweet.  Paired with mild spring onions and nutty Gruyere cheese, it makes an excellent tart for a vegetarian lunch or dinner.  It somehow seemed appropriate for this time of year because the cabbage gives it a vaguely St. Patrick's Day feeling and the spring onions make it sound like spring.

If you're not familiar with spring onions, they're halfway in size between green onions and full-sized onions.  They're also called Mexican onions and have a relatively mild flavor.  If you can't find them, green onions or leeks would work just as well.  I just liked the idea of spring onions.

The recipe calls for blind-baking the crust, which means you bake it before filling it and baking it again.  That ensures the crust is golden and crisp.  Just be aware that the blind-baking and cooling of the crust will add an hour of prep before you fill and bake the tart.

OK, so this isn't the best picture in the world (the red thing in the upper left is my rolling pin) but I was trying to show a tip for how to neatly cut the extra edges off a tart crust by rolling over them with a rolling pin.

The original recipe from the New York Times called for 1/2 medium cabbage, shredded.  I was basically lazy and bought coleslaw mix that included a few shredded carrots which I figured only added to the nutrition.  I pawed through the bag and tossed out any really big pieces of cabbage before cooking and it worked great.

Cabbage and Spring Onion Tart
Serves 4-6

1 refrigerated or homemade pie crust dough
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped spring onion
1 pound shredded coleslaw mix (or shredded cabbage)
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup milk
3 ounces Gruyere, grated

For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 400d.

Ease the dough into a 9” tart pan with removable bottom, pressing onto the bottom and fluted sides of the pan.  Place a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil in the tart pan, making sure to press it into the fluted edges of the dough.  Fill the foil-line crust with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice.  Make sure the weights cover the entire bottom of the crust. Bake for 15 minutes, then check to see if the crust is ready by pulling up one corner of the foil.  (If it sticks, put the crust back in the oven and check every two minutes until the foil doesn’t stick.)  Carefully remove the foil and weights and put the crust back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until light golden brown.  Remove and cool on a wire rack.

For the tart:
Preheat the oven to 350d.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add onions.  Cook, stirring often until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add a generous pinch of salt and continue to cook 3 to 5 minutes until beginning to color.  Add cabbage and cook, stirring often, until cabbage wilts, about 5 minutes.  Add another pinch of salt and caraway seeds and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until cabbage is sweet, very tender and lightly colored.  Tasted, adjust salt, and add freshly ground pepper.  Remove from heat.

Beat the eggs and egg yolks together in a medium bowl.  Set the tart pan on a baking sheet.  Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the bottom of the crust with some of the beaten egg and place it in the oven for 5 minutes to seal the crust.

Add ½ teaspoon salt, pepper and milk to remaining eggs and whisk together. 

Spread the cabbage and onion in an even layer in the crust.  Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top.  Slowly pour the egg custard over the filling until almost to the top of the crust (you may not need it all – do not overfill).  Place the tart, on baking sheet, in the oven and bake for 35 minutes until set and lightly browned.  Remove and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes befo

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