Tarte à l’oignon rouge

One of the things I find most amazing about cooking is the way the simplest of ingredients can be turned into a dish that is, frankly, sublime. Red onion tart is such a dish. The onions are gently sautéed with a pinch of thyme, then placed in the tenderest of savory pie shells, sprinkled with cheese, bathed in a mixture of egg, milk and cream, salted, peppered and sprinkled with nutmeg. And all it takes to prepare this creation is one red onion.

Tarte à l’oignon rouge / Red onion tart

While onion tart is ubiquitous in France, red onion tart is less so. Why do I prefer it? Red onions are slightly sweet and tend to caramelize while cooking, lending a flavor that is both earthy and ambrosial. Which is not to deny the appeal of all sorts of French onion tart — from the rich onion pies of the north, with bacon and cream, to the onion pizzas of the south, with anchovies and black olives (pissaladière). Another relative is quiche aux poireaux — leek quiche — which may just come along here one of these days. It is all fine French winter fare. Add a bottle of red, a salad and voilà — dinner is served.

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5 Responses to Tarte à l’oignon rouge

  1. Jan says:

    If I cannot find comte cheese (which I am not familiar with) what would you substitute?

    • Meg says:

      You can use any gruyère sort of cheese — that’s Swiss, but the kind with real flavor. You may have to go to an imported cheese counter to find it. If this is not available where you live, go for a medium-sharp cheddar. By the way, there’s an Ingredients page on the site, in the Your Kitchen section, where you will (hopefully) find answers to questions like this. All best, Meg

  2. Jan says:

    Hi, Meg–Love all your postings! Quick question: Can this tart be made one day ahead? And, if so, any special advice on how to do this and how to reheat?–Jan

    • Meg says:

      Hi Jan and many thanks for your vote of confidence! Yes, you can make the red onion tart a day ahead of time. When it comes out of the oven, allow it to cool before storing it in the fridge overnight. Then take it out of the fridge about an hour before serving. Reheat it in a medium oven for about 10 minutes, or until you can smell its lovely aroma wafting through the kitchen.

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