The Rustic look of the tart is something I really like, there is something about this kind of honest old-school country cooking that feels right, and it sure tastes good! With modern restaurants beginning to explore traditional techniques like charcuterie, perhaps there is space for a classic like this tart to grace our menus again, it’s a great to start a meal with a glass of wine and a thin slice of tart.
Start by making this tart in the basic form written here. Once familiar with the method, let your mind wander and you’ll quickly come up with other versions to try, one of my inventions is to eliminate the cheese and add some shredded BBQ beef rib to the onion and a dust of BBQ Rub, now that’s good!
Caramelised Onion and Anchovy Tart
The Anchovy adds a haunting saltiness that I like, they are not fishy at all. You could omit them, but if you do, spread a little Vegemite, or Marmite on the pastry, that’ll turn it into something your mate’s idiot vegetarian girlfriend will eat!
One packet of frozen puff pastry sheets approx. 380g (13oz)
1kg (2lbs) brown onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt
Ground black pepper
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
100g (3.5 oz) sheep feta cheese
½ tablespoon of dried oregano leaves
1 egg (beaten)
First, take the puff pastry out of the freezer so it can thaw.
Finely slice the onions (my favourite job!).
Place a tablespoon of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, and add half the onions. Cook the onions in two batches to prevent them from stewing in their own liquid. Stir regularly so the onions cook evenly and only start to brown in the later stages of the cooking. Cooking the onions will take roughly 30 minutes, this could be done ahead of time. It’ll look like a lot of onions when you start to cook, but don’t panic, they reduce down considerably.
Add the salt, sugar, balsamic vinegar, fresh ground black pepper, and mix into the onions. Cook for another 30 minutes stirring every now and again until the onions are nicely brown and caramelised.
Take the onions off the heat, and allow to cool a little.
While the onions are cooking, you can prepare the pastry.
Lay out one sheet of the puff pastry on a sheet of baking paper, brush a little water on top and place a second sheet of pastry on top of the first.
Cut the centre out of a third sheet of pastry to form a 2cm (1 inch) frame, brush the edges of the square with water and position the pastry “frame”, this extra layer will provide a nice puffy crust.
Transfer the pastry on the baking paper to a baking tray.
Score a around the inner edge of your pastry frame just deep enough to cut the second sheet of pastry but not the first, this will puff up in the baking and create the crust.
With a sharp knife trim the edges of the pastry, don’t take too much off, you just need a clean cut edge to allow the edges of the pastry to rise nicely.
Sprinkle the finely grated parmesan cheese into the centre of the tart.
Dot the tart with torn pieces of anchovy.
Cover the cheese evenly with your onions.
Brush the edges with the beaten egg.
Preheat the BBQ to 200°C (425°F) I’m using my XL Big Green Egg
Bake in the BBQ for 20-25 minutes until the edges are puffed up and golden-brown.
Sprinkle with crumbled sheep feta and sprinkle with the Oregano.
Cut into slices, arrange on a platter and serve warm (but it is also good cold).