Texas Sweet Onion Tart with Rosemary and Pequin Chile

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Cowgirl Cuisine

2 strips thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon
1Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 lbs. sweet onions, thinly sliced
kosher salt
2 tsp. sherry wine vinegar
1Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. crumbled Pequin chile
freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
½ cup Mexican crema (or crème fraiche, sour cream or plain whole milk yogurt)

Prepare the cornmeal crust. While the dough chills, prepare the filling.

Slice the bacon into ¾-inch slices.  Cut the slices in half crosswise to make lardoons. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the lardoons and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and crisp but still tender.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the lardoons to a paper-towel-covered plate.  Reserve for the salad.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat from the skillet.  Add the butter, onions, and salt to taste and cook, stirring, until the onions reduce by two-thirds, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the vinegar, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to cook, stirring every now and then, until the onions are deeply golden and have a soft, sticky, marmalade consistency. The onions will need almost constant stirring at the end to prevent them from sticking and burning. Stir in the rosemary and pequin chile.  Remove from the heat and season generously with pepper and more salt if desired.  Allow the onion mixture to cool.  Preheat the oven to 400?.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and crema. Stir the egg mixture into the cooled onion.

Pour the onion mixture into the prepared crust. Bake until the filling and crust are golden and the filling has set, about 35-40 minutes. Serve the tart at room temperature, with a salad tossed with the reserved lardons.

Cornmeal Crust

2 ½ cups all purposed flour
¾ cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
¼ cups ice-cold water (more as needed)

Place the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the butter in small pieces and pulse until the mixture is coarse and pebbly (do not overprocess).  Transfer the dough to a large bowl.  By hand, gradually work in the crema and ice water.  The dough should be soft and pliable but not sticky.  Adjust as necessary with flour.  Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes (or up to a day in advance).

Divide chilled dough in half (rewrap and chill or freeze other half until needed).  Roll out the crust ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured work surface.  Carefully roll the crust around the rolling pin and transfer to the tart pan.  Gently press the dough into the pan, then roll the pin over the top of the pan to trim excess dough and create a smooth surface.

Arugula Salad with Manchego and Caramelized
Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar
Yields: 6-8 servings

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup walnut oil
3 Tbsp. champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
8 cups arugula
2 red delicious or Fuji apples, unpeeled, cored, thinly sliced
6 ounces Spanish Manchego cheese or sharp white cheddar cheese, shaved
1 1/2 cups pitted dates, sliced
 1 cup caramelized Walnuts
4 large shallots, minced

Boil balsamic vinegar in small saucepan over medium-high heat until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 4 minutes.

Whisk oil and Champagne vinegar in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Keep at room temperature. Rewarm balsamic syrup before using. Re whisk vinaigrette before using.)
Toss arugula, apples, half of cheese, dates, walnuts, and shallots in large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

Mound salad in center of each plate. Drizzle balsamic syrup around salads. Sprinkle remaining cheese atop salads.

Servings: 6 to 8