In an effort to take a break from over-eating, Mike and I decided to make Balsamic Onion Mini Tarts with goat cheese and thyme. The mini portion size is a nice change and the only hard part about the recipe is waiting for the onions to caramelize.
How to Caramelized Onions
1. Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and add 1 teaspoon of butter per onion.
2. Heat the pan on medium high heat until the oil is shimmering.
3. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil.
4. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally.
As you cook the onions with the salt, pepper and thyme, try not to rush the caramelization phase. The smells are amazing and will tempt you, but the slower the cooking process, the better the consistency will be. After adding the balsamic and sugar, the onions become sweeter and the aromas that fill the kitchen are nothing less than magical.
Smaller Portion Size
A full sized tart pan would work just fine for this recipe, but I wanted to use my mini tart pans. The smaller portion size was a nice change after a week of Thanksgiving feasting. You can even cut the six-inch tarts into quarters which make them small enough to be served like little hors d’oeuvres if you’re hosting a dinner party.
Tradition… Yay or Nay?
Do you ever break tradition around the holidays? Eating something other than leftovers isn’t exactly a big “tradition breaker,” but Mike and I often talk about switching things up a bit. We talk about traveling somewhere just the two of us or cooking up a seafood feast instead of a turkey. Could you imagine kicking the Thanksgiving feast off with a bunch of grilled oysters instead? Mmm… now I’m inspired.
BALSAMIC ONION MINI TARTS
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 white or yellow onions, very finely sliced
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 brown sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 ounces soft goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or sprigs of fresh thyme Save extra thyme sprigs for garnish, if desired.
- Two boxes of pre-made pie crusts
- To prepare filling, melt the butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan.
- Add the onions, salt, pepper and thyme and cook gently for about 30 mins until the onions are soft and transparent but not browned, stirring occasionally.
- Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar and continue cooking for another 30 mins or so until the onions are almost dry. Don’t rush this stage; the longer and slower the cooking, the better the marmalade will be.
- Remove the thyme. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roll the pre-made pie crusts and use to line several mini tart pans.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is set.
- Remove from the oven and spoon the onion mixture into the cooked pastry cases and top with crumbled goat cheese.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake filled tart for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is hot.
- Garnish with thyme leaves.
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All Images © Regan Baroni 2016.