Longkeeper Onion Tarte Tatin

3:30 am on 13 May 2009

(Serves 6)

First planted in the 1920s when local Pukekohe farmer John Turbot crossed a Spanish brown and Spanish straw onion to grow what is now known as the Pukekohe Longkeeper. With golden globes of crisp sweet pungent flesh, it is a magnificent onion.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large longkepper onions
  • 6 tsp brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 12 sprigs thyme
  • 6 10cm-puff pastry discs
  • 180 g Mount Hector cheese, cut onto 6 slices

Salad

  • 3 each whitloof
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons cabernet vinegar
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2tsp szechuan peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

METHOD

Cut the onions in half through the middle. Trim them to 3cm thick and remove the root.

Strip leaves from thyme sprigs.

In a galette pan place 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, good pinch thyme leaves and place over a medium heat to melt.

Preheat oven to 180c.

Place the onions cut surface down on the chopping board and cover with the pastry working with your hands to mould it to the onion.

Place in the galette pan pastry side up and bake in an oven at 180c for 25 to 30 minutes.

Check by insetting a skewer in the middle of each tart. They should be soft.

Roast the hazelnuts in an oven to 180c for 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and tip into a clean towel and rub off the skins.

Heat the peanut oil in a non-stick pan till hot. Add hazelnuts and toss for a minute. Add the honey and caramelise. Sprinkle in the szechuan peppercorns.

Remove from the heat and pour onto grease-proof paper and allow to cool.

Crush with the back of a knife to resemble course gravel.

For the dressing, combine extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, vincotta and cabernet vinegar and whisk together. Season with sea salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Cut bottom from the whitlof and break into leaves. Toss with the hazelnuts and 2 tablespoons of the dressing.

To serve

Turn out tarts. Place a slice of Mount Hector cheese in the middle of each tart and return to the oven for 1 minute.

Remove tarts from oven. Arrange salad neatly on the plate, scatter over the hazelnut gravel. Rest the tart to one side and spoon around the dressing.

Notes

Galette pan - a small 10cm frying pan.

Mount Hector cheese es a soft boutique style cheese with a soft chalky body and an aromatic flavor.

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