It’s been a number of years since my study abroad program in France. And, to be honest, I don’t think about it a whole lot. It wasn’t the incredibly wild and fun romp through Europe one might expect from a college program. There were no loud raucous parties. There was no steamy French love affair. And, most regrettably, there were no wonderful and affordable French high heels to carry back to rainy Seattle.
But, despite these glaring deficiencies, studying in France was a privilege for which I remain very grateful. It is, after all, the place where I learned croissants are supposed to be flaky and not soggy. It was where I learned to love soft creamy cheeses and hard comte cheese too. It’s where I discovered juicy clementines can brighten the most dreary of winter days. And, finally, it’s where I was first introduced to street food.
Yes. Street food.
You might think France an unlikely spot to offer street fare. However, there’s a lively cafe culture with walkup windows offering wonderfully savory treats and outdoor cafes teaming with people in any number of accessible pedestrian areas. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about a slab of greasy meat on a stick. I’m talking about fresh baked breads, unforgettable sandwiches, hot quiches, and savory tarts.
Did you know you can purchase a sandwich stuffed full of french fries nearly anywhere in France? I know I digress here, but it is hard to imagine anything much better than that. I won’t delve into this further. I am five weeks post pregnancy and I am certainly not allowing myself to hit hit the french fry bucket yet.
I am, however, allowing myself a savory tart here and there. It’s not a sandwich full of fat, but it is a treat nonetheless.
Yesterday was the perfect day to make an onion tart like this one. It wasn’t because we were celebrating anything French in particular, but memories of France flooded my mind. It was a crisp day with the sun shining brightly. There was even a faint smell of fuel in the air. Oddly enough, I find this combination sort of intoxicating and absolutely reminiscent of the springtime afternoons I spent roaming around the cobblestone streets of Grenoble searching for lunch and a cafe au lait. It was on those days, when the air was not absolutely bone chilling, that I might walk up to one of the food stands and order up a steamy onion tart.
These are the moments I take with me. These are the memories that warm me up on crisp winter days.
Perhaps my mind is clouded and I’m feeling sappy, but this onion tart really hit the spot. It’s a keeper, for sure. It’s a tad spicy. It’s a tad savory. It’s rich in roasted onion flavor, which combines wonderfully with the saltiness of the bacon. It’s perfect with a glass of white wine and a light salad of mache or mixed baby greens. Oh, and don’t forget the crusty bread. That’s a must-have with any light tart meal.
I hope you enjoy this onion tart. It’s easy to make, of course. It’s lovely to serve to your guests as an appetizer or light lunch. I find it transportive. Maybe you will too?
Bacon Onion Tart
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
3 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 large sweet yellow onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Nonstick vegetable oil or olive oil spray
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface to 14×10-inch rectangle. Fold 1/2 inch of pastry edges in toward center on all sides, forming 13 x 9-inch rectangle. Transfer pastry to large rimmed baking sheet. Press firmly on pastry edges with fork to form rim. Chill crust.
Cook bacon in small skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from skillet.
Whisk honey, wine, and reserved 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in large bowl. Add onions; toss to coat. Coat another large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Spread onion mixture in even layer on sheet. Roast 30 minutes. Turn onions over, allowing rings to separate. Roast until onions are caramelized, turning often for even browning, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven; cool onions slightly.
Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Mix sour cream, sea salt, pepper, and paprika in small bowl. Using offset spatula, spread sour cream mixture over crust to folded edge. Arrange onions atop. Sprinkle with bacon. Bake tart until crust is light golden brown and topping is bubbling, 20 to 22 minutes.
Adapted from Bon Appetit