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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Caramelised Onion Tart

A classic French onion tart with sweet caramelised onions.  For this recipe I like to add some grated cheese into the egg mixture to enrich the filling.  Use either emmental, cheddar or, my favourite, comte cheese.

To make a 26cm tart here's what you need; 1 quantity short crust pastry (pastry recipe), 4-5 medium onions, 1 clove garlic, 4 large eggs, 25ml double cream, handful grated cheese, 50g butter, white wine vinegar, salt & pepper to season.

Pre-heat your oven to 200C.  Once you have made your pastry and rested it, roll it out to line your tart case, cover with parchment or foil weighed down with baking beans and bake "blind" for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little. 

Turn the oven down to 170C.  Peel and slice the onions and the garlic add to a pan with the butter and cook slowly over a medium to low heat.  Allow the onions to cook down for 15 minutes, stir occasionally so they don't stick.  Stir in a tablespoon of the vinegar and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes.  The onions should be soft and sweet.  You don't need to add sugar as the onions will release their natural sugars.

In a jug mix the eggs with cream and season with salt & pepper.
Evenly spread the onions in the tart case and pour in the egg mixture and top off with the grated cheese.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Roast Seabass, Courgette & Cherry Tomato with Sliced Sweet & New Potatoes

A whole seabass cooked on the bone is a wonderful, flavourful and delicate eating experience.  Sea Bass is such a versatile fish that it can take a variety of seasonings and flavourings to enhance it but also has enough flavour and texture in its own right to be enjoyed on its own.  The majority of seabass available in supermarkets is farmed so you have no worries about over fishing.  If, however, you can get a wild one it is worth paying the extra for it.

 For this dish I sliced sweet potatoes and new potatoes and roasted them with olive oil, thyme and salt & pepper.  Cook them in a hot oven for about 10-12 minutes first then add the whole  fish and the chopped courgette and cherry tomato on top and put back in the oven for approx 15mins.

To prepare the fish.  Firstly, ask your fishmonger to gut and scale the fish.  Before placing in the oven score the skin and flesh in three slashes on the top side.  This helps the heat of the oven get into the middle of the fish and will make serving the fish easier.

Do not overcook the bass.  Literally 12-15 minutes is enough.  The flesh on the back should feel firm but also springy.

To serve firstly remove the head.  Using a spatula place it just behind the gills and chop.  If the fish is cooked the head will come away easily.  Secondly, using a small knife slide it under the skin through one of the slashes and peel back the skin towards the back bone.  Along the back are a series of bones /  fins which will easily pull away from the fish if it is cooked correctly.

Assemble the dish with the potatoes as a bed and the fish on top and the roasted courgette and tomato around the side.  If you like finish the dish with a little butter sauce / beurre blanc.