Recently a friend of mine asked me to do a series of posts on how you can cook a large batch of something on the weekend and then use it as the basis of your meals for the week. He was basically arguing that exciting as it is to make a large batch of tomato ragu, curry or lasagne and eat it basically all week it can get a little monotonous. This seemed exactly in keeping with what I’m trying to do here at Timed Eating – keep the variety of cooking without any of the stress. As such, this week we’ve been largely eating foods based on one central theme – slow cooked onions (recipe here). They’re incredibly easy, delicious and you can do one huge batch of them and use them in lots of varied dishes, whether its the above onion filo tart, a mind-blowingly delicious quiche lorraine frittata, steak with onion gravy (or liver and onions), french onion soup, an amazing persian rice tahdeeg and a truly delicious smoky aubergine, feta and onion salad. All these dishes are super quick to knock up really quickly when you get home from work, all are delicious and all make great use of slow cooked onions which freeze excellently.
So far this week, I’ve already posted about the quiche lorraine frittata and the onions themselves. I’ll try and get as many of the other recipes up as possible (and link them) but I’m missing a few photos at the moment so if you want any of the recipes just fire me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you (or ask in the comments below leaving your email address). My favourite of all the dishes is actually the aubergine and onion salad. It’s so simple, and so delicious. To make it, you roast aubergines just like you were making this aubergine puree but instead of blitzing them up you slice them into quarters (after removing the skin), scatter some crumbled feta cheese, some slow cooked onions and some chopped mint and parlsey before splashing across a little tahini mixed with yoghurt and some olive oil. The whole thing takes less than 20 minutes and is so good! Though I suppose the easiest is the onion soup – add stock and simmer, then make grilled cheese toast – yum!
However, today is about the onion filo tart. You’re welcome to make your own filo pastry, but as I’ve done it once and am not feeling masochistic I use the absolutely fabulous filo pastry which you can buy frozen in every supermarket. To be perfectly honest it’s better than the filo I make. Some pastries are better made at home but puff and filo I always buy.
This tart is a meal all by itself but I like to pair it with a little salad. It works brilliantly with my favourite persian salad but I also really like it with this simple cucumber salad that I’ve paired it with here. The cucumber salad is made using cucumber syrup which I always keep in the fridge because it’s so easy to make. I use the syrup for everything ranging from the ultimate gin and tonic through to cucumber sorbet and salad dressings. I promise I’ll post the recipe soon! The sweetness of the salad pairs really well with the intensely savoury tart. The tart uses the slow cooked onions along with a little sumac, feta cheese, thyme and lemon zest – it would go equally well with some simple salad greens and a classic vinaigrette. Filo pastry needs to be brushed with melted butter, but for this tart I prefer to cook the butter a bit more to make beurre noisette – it’s adds a rich nuttiness which works really well (but it’s totally optional). Plus I think the brown flecks in the butter look beautiful against the pastry before it’s cooked.
Onion Filo Tart
- 2 onions worth of slow cooked onions (recipe here)
- 50g butter
- 4-5 sheets of filo pastry defrosted
- 5 sprigs lemon thyme (regular thyme works too)
- Zest of one lemon
- 75g feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons of ground sumac
- Preheat the oven to 220 celsius.
- Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over a medium heat. If making beurre noisette leave on the medium heat for a further 5 minutes or until brown whilst stirring the butter and scraping the base of the pan. You should see first the butter split into clarfiied butter and the butter solids (Ghee and buttermilk) then eventually the butter solids will caramelise and go brown. Take off the heat once this happens and to prevent the butter from burning plunge the bottom of the pan into water to cool it down.
- Cover a baking tray with either a silicone baking mat or lightly oiled greaseproof paper. Then lay the filo sheets on the greaseproof paper, brushing each one with beurre noisette (or melted butter)
- Sprinkle the lemon thyme (removed fromt he woody stalks) over the buttered pastry.
- Combine the onions and sumac together and cover the pastry with it (make sure to leave a small gap around the edge). Sprinkle on the crumbled feta cheese and the grated lemon zest.
- If you like fold down the four corners of the pastry – this looks quite nice and also creates lovely corners with crunchy tops which are my favourite bits. You could if you preferred not make one large tart but actually lots of little tartlets or even little pastillas with the filling completely inside the pastry (great for lunch boxes)
- Place the tart at the top of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden. If you’ve made mini tarts it will take a little less time