Life is flying by right now, with plans being finalized, dates being nailed down, reservations made and notices given. It’s a really exciting time for us, and looking at the photos of what will be our new home, thinking about furnishing it, decorating it, and taking our new kitchen for a spin puts the biggest smile on my face, but I have to admit that at times, it’s a bit overwhelming. I mean, there’s still our life here to consider – work and errands and keeping up with friends, trying to cull and pack and still find time to do the things we want to do before we say goodbye to New York City for a while. I’ve fallen behind on email and blog reading, and this week I have even had a heck of a time getting up the energy to deal with dinner. I mean, we shopped, I wrote up a meal plan, it’s all mapped out but honestly, what I’ve wanted to do more than anything is to just sit out on the stoop or in the back yard with a glass of wine, breathing in the early spring air, absorbing the sights and sounds and smells of what has been our home for the last three and a half years.
The March issue of Gourmet sat unread on the sofa for days before I finally tossed it into my tote bag in frustration, vowing that I would make time to crack it open on my commute home from work. When I finally did I found about 15 things that I wanted to cook pretty much immediately, but the recipe I couldn’t wait to show Mike was for an Onion Tart With Mustard and Fennel.
Teamwork meals have been working well for us lately, and this was no exception. Mike prepared the tart dough according to the recipe and I riffed on the filling, caramelizing three baseball-sized red onions and one large bulb of fennel, all sliced thinly, in a mixture of butter and olive oil. I added some fennel seeds that I had ground in a mortar and pestle, as well as a teaspoon of dried Herbes de Provence. I did spread a layer of Dijon mustard over the tart dough as in the Gourmet recipe, and when the tart came out of the oven after baking for half an hour I sprinkled some fennel fronds on top.
The crust was spectacular – it cooked beautifully and evenly, and it was light and buttery. Mike was delighted at how well it turned out and how easy it was to put together, and he’s already thinking of variations on the theme. I was pleased with the filling, too. I loved the bite of mustard under the caramelized onion and fennel mixture, though I think I might use a soft goat cheese next time instead of the parmesan – the flavor got a little buried under the layers of fennel-y goodness. But overall, this was a win, and the crust is definitely something we’ll pull out again and use with whatever is in season.