This recipe for Alsatian onion tart was created by Andre Soltner, the chef at Lutece in New York, which opened in 1961 and closed in 2004.
It is a perfect appetizer for the fall table, Thanksgiving or Christmas.
I had the pleasure of dining at Lutece at Christmas 1979 and had this tart, with a nice champagne, when I could eat more than I do now!
In 1980, Julia Child proclaimed Lutece to be the best restaurant in the United States. She might have been right.
I am sure this recipe, which I have amended, will not live up to the original, but it would be a good dish to share with family and friends over the holidays. I have simplified and made it easier to make, but the results are still great.
Warning: It is rich and flavorful and can be made as an entrée for dinner and served with sliced tomatoes and herbs.
• 2 lbs. sweet onions, peel and slice root to top – julienne, not rounds.
• 2 tbsp bacon fat – cook 5 or 6 strips of bacon, reserve the fat and save the bacon
• 1 large egg
• ½ cup of heavy cream
• 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
• Salt to taste
• ¼ tsp. nutmeg
There is a recipe for the tart crust, but I suggest using your own pie crust recipe. If you don’t want to make the crust, an easy way out is to buy a Mrs. Smith deep dish flaky pie crust and thaw for 15 minutes before pre-baking. Or use another pre-made pie crust of your choosing.
If you use the frozen pie crust, let it thaw, then dock the bottom with tines of a fork, and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, remove from the oven and cool. When it is cool, remove from the baking dish and place on a baking sheet. If making your own crust, cooking instructions are the same.
Mix the heavy cream, egg, nutmeg, salt to taste and pepper with a whisk. Set aside.
Saute the onions in the reserved bacon fat, about 2/3 TBSP slowly, on medium/medium low heat until caramelized. The secret is to do it slowly, so the onions have time to caramelize, becoming soft and translucent and slightly brown, sweet and evenly browned.
This can take 25-30 minutes. When the onions are done, let them cool for 10 minutes and then mix the onions with the egg mixture until onions are well coated with mixture.
When the tart shell and onion mixture has cooled, fill the shell. This is where I amended the recipe. I used the bacon, chopped into pieces and put on top of the tart. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes until the tops of the onions are brown and the shell is golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. I surrounded mine with fresh herbs, parsley, sage and basil from my herb garden. It looks great if you are taking this to a holiday event.