Caramelized Onion and Fig Tart
The onion is one of my favorite ingredients; it’s versatile in flavor – sharp and spicy when raw, mellow and sweet when roasted – and thanks to my recent purchase of a mandoline, slicing the tear-inducing vegetable is a cinch. While the combination of caramelized onions and thyme has long been a personal favorite, it’s the figs that make this dish stand out. Now, a fresh fig, when available, is a sexy thing; but a dried version adds a great bite to the tart fruit. I’ve made this recipe in different ways, adding goat cheese or Parmesan, a little cooked pancetta or bacon, or topping it with arugula and walnuts that have been tossed in a simple white balsamic dressing. It’s a wonderful dish to bring to a book club or dinner party, but be warned: last time I made it, all that was left was a few buttery flakes of puff pastry.
2 large onions, sliced very thin
3 Tbsp. fresh thyme (can substitute 2 Tbsp. dried thyme)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 sheet prepared puff pastry
½ cup crème fraîche (Learn how to make your own here)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 dried or fresh figs (if dried, soak in water for about 15 minutes and drain)
• Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
• In a heavy skillet, sauté the sliced onions and thyme in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until lightly caramelized (watch the heat, they can go from light brown to dark brown very quickly). Remove from heat and set aside.
• Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 12 inches-by-10 inches, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Prick the puff pastry all over with a fork. Set aside.
• In a small bowl, mix the crème fraîche with about ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Spread the crème fraîche mixture evenly over the puff pastry.
• Chop the figs and place them on the puff pastry.
• Cover with the caramelized onions and place into the oven for 25 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden.
• Remove to a cooling rack, let cool for about 15 minutes, and serve.