Did you know that today is the official start of Vidalia onion season? Well it is, and I'm celebrating. Vidalia onions were developed in Georgia during the Depression because they grew well in the local sandy soil. At first the farmers didn't know what to make of the unusually sweet onions, but for obvious reasons they soon became popular and have since gained cult status. France and Italy aren't the only ones who have 'terroir' and fancy legal protection for their special foods. Vidalia onions were officially branded and trademarked in the 1980s and by law they can only be grown in certain parts of Georgia where the low sulfur soil produces their distinctive sweetness. The onions are famous for being so mild they can be eaten raw, like an apple, but they're wonderful cooked as well.
Crust: ~~~Martha Stewart
2 1/2 cups flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut in pieces
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup ice water, more if necessary
- Put the flour salt and in a processor and pulse to combine.
- Add the pieces of butter and process until grainy.
- While pulsing, add in the ice water, starting with 1/4 cup, just until the dough comes together.
- Empty the bowl of the processor onto a sheet of plastic wrap and bring it together into a dough.
- Cut the amount in half, shape into disks, and wrap each disk in plastic.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours before rolling out one of the disks to fit your pie or tart pan.
- Put the tart pan back in the refrigerator to keep it cold while you make the quiche filling.
oven to 350
Crust for a 9" round or 8x12 rectangle tart pan
2 Vidalia onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 lb Black Forest ham, sliced thin from the deli counter
fresh cracked pepper
fresh thyme leaves
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 8 oz container Marscapone cheese, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, half n half, or 1/2 milk, 1/2 cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large shallow pan and saute the onions until they are softened and translucent. Season with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
- Layer all the ham slices on top of each other and roll the whole pile up tightly. Slice the roll into thin ribbons. I like to cut the ham this way so it gets incorporated throughout the quiche, and the thin ribbons complement the onion slices. Add to the onions and mix well.
- In the bowl of a food processor put the eggs, cream, Marscapone and Parmesan cheeses. Whirl until thoroughly blended.
- Distribute the onion and ham mixture evenly onto the dough in your quiche pan.
- Pour the custard mix evenly over the top. Use as much of the custard as necessary to fill but not overfill your pan.
- Bake for about 45-50 minutes until the quiche is browned and set and a toothpick comes out clean.
This quiche has a creamy texture and a subtle flavor. The little ribbons of onion and ham give it an interesting texture. It's dressed up comfort food, great as an appetizer with a glass of wine, or a light lunch or dinner.