Recipes from food stylist Nicolas Ghirlando: Fish fingers to Friday nights.

Mind your onions.


They’re home for the next few weeks because of the school Easter holidays. I have a glut of onions from a job the other day, so to annoy them, I’ve decided to peel them all as an excuse to make an onion tart. This should give me a little peace as they barricade themselves in their bedroom to stem the tears like two little sans-culottes against a tide of sulphurous soldiers.

So far this week, I’ve managed to turn a trip to the DIY shop and the fitting of a new loo seat into a family activity and am already exhausted of ideas to entertain them. And while they watch Trolls for the billionth time, I wonder whether they would be willing to help me at least make the puff pastry before demanding I put on Moana, participate in another tea party,  take them on scooters to the park, go to the toy shop, go all over the world, fix things, stop one from looking at the other the wrong way, play Frozen Top Trumps or feed them MORE FOOD.

You’d think they hadn’t eaten for weeks the way they keep telling me every day how hungry they are from the moment I open my eyes after Maya’s cries of “Dadddyy…? … can you come and wipe my bum” to just before they clean their teeth for bed. And this is with me even feeding them their three meals a day…

I do misrepresent them, they are, ninety-five percent of the time completely delicious, so instead of enlisting them as galley slaves, they went off to the cinema, I bought puff pastry from the shop and let the oven do the work while the house was calm for a while.

You can cook the onions with the sunday roast if you like, they will keep for a day,  or you can slowly cook them in butter in a large sauté pan. I layed mine in a roasting dish, drizzled them with oil and butter a dash of balsamic and a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary, poured in a little veal stock and roasted them for about an hour and a half in the oven until soft, melting, rich and golden. Then all that remained was to put them in a pie dish, lay the pastry over the top, tucking them in tightly and putting them back in for half an hour or so, until the pastry was crisp and flaky. Cooled and turned out it sits on the side waiting to be served with a green salad and sharp dressing.

Ingredients
A bag of onions, peeled and halved equatorially
1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry (or homemade which is far superior, just depends on your mood or willingness)
A few thyme and rosemary sprigs
Some olive oil and butter
100ml veal stock or beef or vegetable if you prefer
Salt and pepper to season

Method
Heat the oven to gas 8, whatever that is in C. I generally just turn the oven on or off and turn it down a little if things are cooking to quickly and up a bit if too slowly.
Put the onions, flat face up in a baking dish and add all the ingredients except the pastry.
Cook in the oven for about an hour and a half, remove and leave to cool slightly. They should be soft, caramelising and golden.
Place them in a large enough but snug sauté pan so they sit tightly then tuck over and in the pastry. Poke a little hole in the middle.
Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is golden, puffed and crisp.
Leave to cool a little then turn out onto a large plate. Serve warm.

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