More often than not I’m cooking what I have on hand rather than going on a special shopping trip for ingredients. This is why onions, carrots, potatoes, squash, cabbage and turnips are the unsung heroes of the dinner hour. They aren’t glamorous but they are there for you in your hour of need. Onions are so self-sufficient that they can support an entire dinner and still be appreciated the next day at lunch. The smell of a frying onion comforts and reassures your dining companions that indeed, something is happening in the kitchen. They’re humble, versatile and surprisingly complex. Recently I had raw onions served as a side to cassoulet and they worked much like lemon in that the crunchy raw slices brightened the rich meaty flavours of the beans and duck.
So why not let the onion take centre stage with a simple, filling and yet somehow exotic onion and leek tart? The beauty of this tart is that you can use onions and/or leeks, even throw in some diced shallot or garlic, or stick to all leeks or all onions. From there you can add bacon lardons, cream or crème fraîche and, if desired, your choice of cheese like Gruyère, Comté or Cheddar.
The onion tart is a versatile thing of magic. It’s rich and savoury with a subtle sweetness from the long-cooked onions. It is delicious served hot with a green leaf and walnut salad, as a cold lunch, is an excellent addition to a brunch and welcome on any buffet.