A savory tart cries out for a summer picnic.
This Caramelized Shallot and Bacon Tart is a favorite, whether served at a summer outing or as a first course for a showy company dinner. The sweetness of browned onions and shallots team beautifully with crisp bacon and creamy ricotta.
Caramelized Shallot and Bacon Tart
Yield: 8 servings
1 round prepared pie dough, such as refrigerated Pillsbury Pie Crust
4 slices thick bacon
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 shallots, cut crosswise into thin slices
1 1/2 large yellow onions, cut in half top to bottom, thinly sliced crosswise
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk beaten with 1/2 teaspoon water
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350 degrees. Ease chilled dough into a 9 1/2-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Use top of bent finger to press dough into fluted sides of pan. To create a double layer of dough on sides of crust, trim dough 1/4-inch above top of pan; fold overhanging dough over so top of fold is even with top of pan to reinforce sides; press with top of bent finger to seal sides. Roll rolling pin over top of tart pan to make top of dough even all the way around. Poke dough at 1-inch intervals with tines of fork (bottom and sides). Line dough with sheet of aluminum foil. Add about 1 cup dry beans, raw rice or pie weights. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven; remove foil and beans, rice or weights. Set aside.
2. In large, deep skillet cook bacon until crisp; remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon bacon grease in pan. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil and heat oil on medium-high heat. Add shallots and onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and starting to brown, about 9 minutes. Reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Add sugar, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to combine. Cook until onions are golden, stirring occasionally, about 20 additional minutes.
3. In small bowl combine ricotta, egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Gently spread ricotta mixture on bottom of tart shell. Top with shallot mixture, spreading out into an even layer. Crumble or chop bacon and sprinkle on top of shallot mixture. Brush top edge of crust lightly with egg wash. Place on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until golden brown and heated through, 35 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool 15 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.
Source: “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce” by Cathy Thomas (Wiley, $29.95)