The trend is definitely going in the direction of fresh and locally produced food. Walla Walla isn’t exactly neighboring Redmond these days but we do share the same great state and that is close enough. I’d rather eat an onion from Walla Walla than from anywhere else in the world.
One of the reasons this particular onion has achieved such greatness is its sweetness. For once you can peel and chop an onion without crying your eyes out and any chef will tell you that is a bonus. But it is the flavor of the onion that sets it apart.
A recent sailing trip required some easy to serve picnic items and a nice onion tart fits that bill quite nicely. I found the recipe in a Food & Wine issue from November 2000 in a salute to the Evergreen State. It is so rich that you can and should use it for special occasions. The suggest that you pair it with a full bodied Semillion – from Washington State, of course!
WALLA WALLA SWEET ONION TART WITH BACON
2 sticks frozen unsalted butter
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 T sugar, plus 1 tsp
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound thickly sliced bacon
3 large sweet Walla Walla Onions
salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 1/2 T freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp minced rosemary
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Make the Pastry: Work over a medium bowl, grate the butter over the large holes of a box grater: freeze. In another bowl combine the flour sugar and salt. Add butter and cut mixture with pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and mix with fork until a dough forms. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and pat into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
Make the filling: In large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels and cut into 1 inch pieces. Pour all the three tablespoons of bacon grease off and add the thinly sliced onions to oil. Cook onion over low heat until tender and carmelized. It will take about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper and cool.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll dough onto lightly floured surface into a 15 inch disc. Fold the dough in half and place in 11 inch tart pan. Trim the overhang. Freeze the tart shell until chilled, about 10 minutes.
Line the tart shell with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry starts to dry. Remove weights and foil and bake for about 3 minutes longer until golden. Let cool on rack.
Turn the oven down to 375 degrees. In a bowl, whisk cream and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients finishing off with a 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Pour into tart shell and bake for 25 minutes or until the custard is set. Transfer to rack to cool slightly. Remove tart from pan and serve.