Sunday, April 12, 2009

Caramelised onion, rocket and goat’s cheese tartlets


Serves 4

Onions are one of the few things that improve in flavour the more you cook them. When caramelising, use very low heat and stir frequently to draw out their natural sugars. If cooked properly, you won’t need to add any sugar to help with the process

300g shortcrust pastry
Flour, for dusting
25g unsalted butter
6 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tblsp sherry vinegar
150g goat’s cheese, preferably a thin log
100g rocket
Squeeze of lemon juice
Drizzle of olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut the pastry into four even pieces and roll each one out on a lightly floured board as thinly as possible, without tearing. Use to line four 10cm tartlet tins and leave the excess pastry overhanging the sides. Place the tartlets on a baking sheet and line them with foil and baking beans. Chill for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Bake the pastry cases for 15 minutes, then remove the baking beans and foil and return to the oven for another 5 minutes until the pastry is crisp. While still hot, trim the pastry to the rim of the tins with a sharp knife. Cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a pan and add the sliced onions. Cook over a very low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and caramelised. Drain off any excess liquid from the onions and add the sherry vinegar. Put the pan back on the heat for 10 more minutes until the vinegar has cooked off. Season well and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Place the tartlet cases on a baking sheet and spoon in the caramelised onions. Cut the goat’s cheese into 8 thick slices and place two on each tartlet. Bake for 5-10 minutes until the cheese is golden and the tart has warmed through.

Dress the rocket with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper and serve with the warm tartlets.