When I first discovered caramelized onions, I went on a bit of a binge. Making a burger? Hold on, that needs caramelized onions (it will just be 30–45 minutes, no problem, right?). Making a stew or a curry? Might as well caramelize the onions first to see what happens. Pizza? Caramelized onions. Sandwich? Caramelized onions. Cake? Not until you eat your caramelized onions. I may have had a bit of a problem. But I was also a student, and cooking was something non-homeworkey that I was allowed to do because I had to eat, right? Right. Caramelized onions it is!
Anyhow, I eventually got enough of a life that I had non-allium things to distract me from schoolwork, and caramelized onions fell into the category of things I love but don’t make all that often.
For the uninitiated, caramelized onions are the butterflies of the food world. You start off with something fairly mundane, but with a little heat and a fair chunk of time, you end up with something truly incredible. Something that’s nothing at all like the onion you started with. Something sweet, richly flavoured, and utterly fantastic with pretty much anything. Best of all, you don’t need anything more than onions, some oil, a pan, and patience.
This tart combines many of my favourite winter flavours; caramelized onions, pastry, rosemary, chévre, and balsamic. I knew the caramelized onions had to be the bulk of it because they’re a bit of a pain in the backside to make, and if I was going to go to the trouble of deedling around the kitchen for three quarters of an hour, stirring a pot of onions, I was damn well going to have a lot of caramelized onions when all was said and done. So, 6 onions it was.
While the onions caramelized, I had plenty of time to do everything else. I made the pastry, roasted the squash, and reduced the balsamic vinegar with some rosemary. When the onions were done, all there was left to do was assemble the tart and bake it for 10 minutes or so to ensure everything was warm.
The result is a tart full of deep, rich flavours, brightened with the tang of chévre and the rosemary balsamic reduction.
Caramelized Onion & Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash Tart
One 9″ pastry shell, baked (this one is easy and delicious)
2 tbsp canola oil
6 onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp rosemary leaves
2/3 chopped chévre
Heat a large cast iron pot over medium heat. Add the oil, and then the onions. Cook, stirring, until they’re deep, dark, and golden, and they’ve shrunk a whole lot.
Heat the oven to 400ºF. Toss the squash with the rosemary and canola oil and roast until golden and tender, about 15 minutes.
Simmer the balsamic vinegar with the rosemary until reduced to ¼ cup. Strain through a coffee filter to remove the rosemary leaves.
Once the onions are caramelized, scatter them across the bottom of the tart shell. Scatter the butternut squash across the top of that, and then the chévre. Bake at 350ºF for 10 minutes to heat through.
Serve slices drizzled with the balsamic reduction.