Thursday, 21 July 2011

Easy Caramelised Onion and Feta Tart - using pickled onions

Do you have the patience to stand around peeling pearl onions? I certainly don't, so I've come up with an easy, knock-out tart that uses small pickled onions, which are (oh joy!) already peeled. All they need is a thorough rinsing and a 10-minute sizzle in a pan of hot butter, garlic and thyme, and they turn a gorgeous golden brown, with a perfect balance of sweetness and gentle acidic bite.
Easy Caramelised Onion and Feta Tart - using pickled onions
The first time I made this, I used bog-standard pickled onions, and they were just too aggressively vinegary. The second, I used a better quality German pickled onion (Kühne brand) and they were perfect.
Easy Caramelised Onion and Feta Tart - using pickled onions
This is a dead-easy recipe that takes about 20 minutes to prepare and the same amount of time to bake. Do use a good quality puff pastry containing butter, and make sure not to overwork the pastry.  You could add any cheese of your choice to this tart - it would be good with a creamy Gorgonzola - but I like feta the best, because it has such a mild flavour and agreeable texture.

This tart is at its best warm, but can be made up to five hours in advance.

Easy Caramelised Onion and Feta Tart

one 500 g jar (300 g drained weight) small pickled onions
3 T (45 ml/45 g) salted butter
a few large sprigs of fresh thyme
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and finely grated
1 roll of good quality puff pastry, thawed
a beaten egg, for brushing
1 wheel (about 150 g) feta cheese
milled black pepper
a little olive oil for drizzling

Heat the oven to 180ºC and place a non-stick baking sheet in it to heat.  Pour the pickled onions into a colander and rinse them well under running water. Drain well, and discard any pickling spices. Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the onions, thyme sprigs and garlic. Cook, over a medium flame, tossing often, for 10 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown and nicely caramelised. Don't allow the garlic or onions to scorch. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Easy Caramelised Onion and Feta Tart - using pickled onions
Unroll the puff pastry onto a board covered with a piece of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll it out so it's two or so centimetres larger on all sides. Cut the pastry into an exact square (measure and mark it using a ruler, or lift one corner and fold it diagonally upwards to meet the top edge, as you would do if you were doing origami).  Prick the pastry all over with a fork. Cut the leftover piece of pastry into four strips a centimetre or so wide (you may need to roll the piece out a little further). Brush the pastry base with beaten egg, then place the strips around the edges to make a border. Mark the border with a decorative chevron pattern.

Arrange the cooled onions in even rows on top of the pastry. Break the feta into pieces and tuck it between the  onions. Scatter with a little more fresh thyme and season with milled black pepper.  Paint another layer of beaten egg onto the edges of the tart.

Carefully lift the edges of the baking paper (you may need another pair of hands for this) and place it on the preheated baking sheet. Bake at 180ºC for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Drizzle with a little olive oil, cut into slices and serve warm.

Serves 6 as a starter or side dish.
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7 comments:

Pinkpolkadot said...

This looks wonderful and so easy!

Heidi @ Food Doodles said...

Mmm, I love pickled onions, even as a kid I loved them! Your tart looks incredibly delicious, especially with feta cheese :D

Candice said...

Oh I love caramelised onions - one of the cheapest, most versatile ingredients I believe. So happy to see them here...and made even easier!

Kit said...

I love the design so carefully marked out on the edges of the tart - beautiful!

Marisa said...

Perfection! Can see this as a lovely side-dish to a braai come summer.

Jennifer (Delicieux) said...

Yum, this tart looks amazing. Love cheese and onion.

What a great idea to use pickled onions!!!! So clever.

Jennifer (Delicieux) said...

Yum, this tart looks amazing. Love cheese and onion.

What a great idea to use pickled onions!!!! So clever.

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