Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Alsatian onion tart

Once upon a time—before we had a house—we used to take amazing long trips to Europe. One such trip was in 1996 when we took a three-week tour of France, Germany and Austria. We still travel of course, but usually limit the time to two weeks, which I can't complain about! In those days of exploration and discovery we traveled simply, enjoyed the little things, and anything was possible. A picnic of local bread, cheese and fruits and wine on the grounds of a French chateau? Priceless. We made many precious memories driving our rented car from Paris to the Loire Valley and Alsace, then to Germany in the Mosel region and along the Rhine river, then over the German Alps to the Austrian Alps to Salzsburg and Vienna. We explored vineyards, chateaus, castles and of course, fabulous food and wine.

We first tasted an onion tart in on a warm autumn day in Colmar in the Alsace region of France, at a restaurant with tables right on the edge of a canal. Flowing heaps of colorful geraniums spilled over windowsills of enchanting homes and reflected on the river water as we drank our Riesling wine in cute green wine glasses. In those languid days, the air was always buttered with sunshine and anticipation, as it was on this particular day, when the waiter brought a warm onion tart for me and a charcuterie plate for Dan. Both were delectably memorable. When I got home from the trip I searched for an Alsatian onion tart recipe to make and I came across the one shown here. It's perfect with a salad made with apples because the tart and sweet flavor profiles balance perfectly with the rich tart. I dress the salad with my favorite autumn apple cider vinaigrette. I make this Alsatian onion tart just once a year, always in the autumn, and preferably on a warm day where we can sit outside in the sunshine and enjoy it—and reminisce about that warm autumn day in Alsace.

The canal in Colmar, France

Slowly brown the onions.

I put fresh thyme into the pie crust 
and blind-baked it before filling.

And voilà—Alsatian onion tart! 

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