Who can resist cheese (the lactose-intolerant among you excluded, of course)? Every member of our family practically drools at the mention of cheese, whether it’s an undistinguished Cheddar intended for a grilled-cheese sandwich or a particularly ripe Époisses de Bourgogne, of which I have a very fond, very pungent memory from a long-ago tour of Burgundy. That includes the elder of our two dogs, Daisy, an elderly chow chow who spends her days in a largely catatonic state until she detects the aroma of Brie, for instance, or Emmenthaler.
With this family passion in mind, my industrious spouse decided last night to make Mapie de Toulouse-Lautrec’s tarte aux oignons et fromage (that’s cheese-and-onion tart, fyi). Its spiritual warmth and elemental earthiness bore witness to the basic beauties of farmhouse cuisine, the luxury of sautéed onions suspended in a creamy golden matrix of baked eggs and Gruyère cheese. A glass of white wine plus a side dish of green beans cooked in butter with a dash of sea salt made it a worthy end-of-day repast.
TARTE AUX ONIONS ET FROMAGE
SOURCE: Mapie de Toulouse-Lautrec’s La Cuisine de France (Orion Press, 1961)
SERVES 6 PEOPLE
Tart pastry (go to this post for the easy recipe)
1 pound (4-5) medium onions
3 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons flour
1-1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peel and chop the onions very fine. Cook in boiling salted water for 15 minutes. Strain completely and sauté in the butter until golden.
Beat the eggs in a bowl with a fork and add the flour and the cream, beating continuously. Beat in the grated cheese and season with pepper. Do not add salt before tasting because the cheese may be salty enough. Finally stir in the onions.
Fill the tart with the mixture and bake 30 minutes until golden. Let cool for 10 minutes then serve.