Notice that "tart" is in " " - the reason being this recipe really turns out like a pizza. I have been wanting to make Rustic Onion Tart with Market Cheese and Walnuts from Deborah Madison ever since I heard the name. A good recipe title can reach out and grab me, and this one did its job!
When I began to plan this meal, I was going to make the crust the recipe called for. However when I discovered I had half a recipe of whole wheat pizza dough in the freezer I decided to use that. After all, I was sure the strong flavors of onions, bleu cheese and walnuts could handle the nutty wheat crust!
When it was time, I shaped the crust with my hands, then rolled it to make sure it was very thin. You may have noticed that I dont make my pizza crust round - I like the look of the free form shapes. To the crust I added the mixture of red and yellow onions I had been caramelizing for the past hour.
The crust and onions were baked for about 7 minutes, then out of the oven it came so the rest of the ingredients could be added. I had sliced and crumbled a soft artisan bleu cheese and chopped a few walnuts. Those were sprinkled around the top of the onions to be baked again for about 6 minutes. The "pizza/tart" was slid back out of the oven and cooled for only a few minutes before I needed to slice and try. The recipe calls for arugula to be added at this time, but since I did not have any, I left it out.
I have always enjoyed the flavors of a strong cheese with walnuts and I wasnt disappointed this time. Add the sweetness of the onions and this was a winner. If you notice, I didnt bake as long as was called for - my crust was much smaller and very thin so I adjusted accordingly.
I felt a special yet simple salad was called for with this main dish. I tore up some greens, added a few slices of granny smith apple and a few red grapes, and to tie things in, a small sprinkle of bleu cheese and walnuts. Homemade ranch dressing was drizzled over top. With this dinner a nice hoppy IPA beer was served.
The verdict? Bo said, "We are never eating pizza out again!"
Rustic Onion Tart with Market Cheese and Walnuts (Adapted from Local Flavors)
Local Flavors Pizza Dough (recipe below)
3 Tbs olive oil
3 lbs onions -- thinly sliced
several thyme sprigs -- leaves plucked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oz local blue cheese or Gorgonzola -- crumbled
4 whole walnuts -- shelled and chopped
1 large handful small arugula leaves
Make the pizza dough. While it's rising, heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and two thirds of the thyme; toss to coat the onions with the oil. Cover and cook until lightly colored, stirring occasionally so they cook evenly, 30-40 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
Twenty minutes before it's time to bake the tart, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roll the dough into a thin rectangle just large enough to fill a 12x16" sheet pan or into two 12" rounds. Cover the dough with the onions and bake for 12 minutes. Add the cheese and walnuts, and return the tart to the oven until the crust is crisp and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Remove, add the remaining thyme, and cover with arugula. Cut into squares and serve.
Local Flavors Pizza Dough
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 Tbs active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour -- (more as needed)
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbs olive oil
Put the warm water in a mixing bowl and stir in the yeast, sugar, and 1 cup of the flour. Set aside until foamy, 20-30 minutes. Lightly oil a clean bowl from the dough.
Stir in the salt and oil, then start stirring in the flour until the dough is fairly stiff. When too stiff to stir, turn it onto a lightly floured counter and knead until smooth and shiny, about 10 minutes. Add more flour as needed. Put the dough in the oiled bowl, turn once to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Roll out into desired shape, top, and bake.