Three Onion Tart
It’s all over, done and dusted. Norwich City’s 2005/6 season is thankfully consigned to history, but while we’ve had some very tricky moments and not withstanding losing our last home match on Saturday, what transpired after the final whistle had blown was that the tremendous spirit of our supporters proved still alive and undaunted.
Yes, there has been much debate and much criticism of some performances and everyone has been able to have their say. Yet underneath all the frustration and disappointment, true and loyal football supporters are made of stern stuff: they are able to endure the pain of the present and at the same time be filled with hope for the future. Of course it’s only a game, but these are human qualities that fill me with admiration. At a party after the match some 400 of our away supporters aged nine to ninety plus manager, players and staff danced, sang and celebrated the love we have for our club.
At home the swallows are back in town, dancing in the air and dive-bombing to snatch insects from the surface of the pond. We’re hoping that, like last year, they will be building their nests in the roof of the barn.
In the kitchen garden the asparagus bed is just about producing enough for two every few days, and the abundance of blossom everywhere is promising a rich harvest if we don’t get any more frost. Some onions, left, are all we have left from last year now, so we made this tart which was a bit of a special but rare treat now that they’re no longer fashionable.
Make the shortcrust pastry (see link below). Begin by peeling and slicing the red and white onions in half, then slice thinly so that you get half moons.
Now chop the sage leaves finely, reserving about 8 whole leaves for later. Next in a large, thick-based saucepan melt the butter then add the sliced onions and, keeping the heat highish, toss them around until they are lightly tinged brown at the edges – which will take about 5 minutes.
Now turn the heat down to low and leave them to cook slowly, stirring from time to time, for about half an hour to 40 minutes, by which time they should be meltingly brown. Then stir in the chopped sage and some salt and freshly-milled pepper. While that’s happening roll out the pastry and line the flan tin with it, making sure you leave about ¼ inch (5 mm) sticking up above the rim (to allow for shrinkage). Prick the base all over with a fork and pre-bake it for 10 minutes.
Now beat up the eggs, and brush the pastry base with a little of the beaten egg, then let it cook for a further five minutes. Meanwhile chop the spring onions (including the green parts) quite small. Remove the pastry from the oven and sprinkle in the spring onions, followed by the cooked onions.
Next beat the eggs into the crème fraiche with some seasoning, and pour all over the onions – you will need to spread it out evenly and don’t worry if it looks a bit thick, it will melt and surround the onions during the cooking.
Finally sprinkle the Parmesan all over and cook it for 30 minutes on the centre shelf of the oven. Then brush each reserved sage leaf with a little oil and arrange them on top of the tart, and return it to the oven for another five minutes or until the centre feels springy. Leave it to rest for 10 minutes before serving.