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sunday dinner: caramelized onion & roasted cauliflower tart (+ some fancy Oscars goodness).

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Widely known fact about Tina: Awards Season is my JAAAAAAAAM. I’ve always loved it; the fashion, the movies, the speeches, the mishaps, the pomp, the circumstance, the grandeur of it all. And ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, The Oscars are the ultimate. The pinnacle of the season and my absolute favorite.

So, naturally, for one of my favorite fancy days of the year, I cook some fancy ass food. Fancy food to accompany my pajama-wearing, live-tweeting, couch sitting viewing party of one. It’s glorious, and highly recommended for all.

This year, I went big and bold, rich and cheesy. Let me introduce you to the wonder that is this Caramelized Onion & Roasted Cauliflower Tart. That’s like six of my favorite words all in a row (yes, ‘&’ is a word). This tart is bonkers good; creamy and rich and a beautiful balance of sweet, slightly charred onion and salty, biting gruyère. Also, there’s about a pound of butter and cream. #sogood

I recommend pairing this doozy of a dinner with a nice, simply dressed green salad. All of that butter and cream and cheese benefits greatly from a little brightness.

This is not a super simple recipe, but if you’re looking for a real showstopper for Oscars night, or any other special occasion, this is the ticket. Now excuse me, please, while I go have an intimate moment with a tart.

Side note: I ALSO made these bad boys and they were DIVINE. Crab and avocado are a match made in foodie heaven, no?

You ready? OK, let’s do this.

Caramelized Onion & Roasted Cauliflower Tart
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves: 6-8

You will need:

For the tart shell:
1 ¼ cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg

For the tart filling:
1 large onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 small head cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
3 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 large eggs
1 8oz container mascarpone cheese
½ cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup grated gruyère cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Kitchen equipment: tart pan with removable bottom, baking sheet, large heavy-bottomed skillet

Make the tart shell. Combine the flour, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter cubes and using either a pastry blender, a fork or your hands, mix the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are very small and flaky. Add the egg and mix the dough together with a fork. This took me awhile to do and I had to get in there with my hands after awhile, so don’t lose hope.

Once it all comes together, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface about an inch or two larger than your tart pan. Lay the dough over the tart pan and push the dough into the pan, ensuring that it is evenly distributed and covers the bottom and sides. Trim any excess and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roast the cauliflower & caramelize the onions. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the cauliflower on a large baking sheet and drizzle with two tablespoons olive oil. Toss gently to evenly coat, then season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, toss and flip, then roast for an additional 15 minutes until the cauliflower is sizzling and nicely charred. Remove from the oven and transfer to your cutting board, then chop finely.

To caramelize the onions, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, then add all of the onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown and jammy, approximately 30-45 minutes. This will take what feels like a century, but it is WORTH IT, my friend.

When appropriately caramelized, remove the onions from the heat, spread on a plate in an even, thin layer and place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (the cooler the onions, the better they’ll blend with the custard you’re about to make).

Make the custard. Combine the eggs, mascarpone, heavy cream, white pepper and nutmeg and whisk until fully incorporated. Fold in the grated gruyere.

Bring it all together. Turn oven down to 350 degrees. Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator and spread the tablespoon of dijon mustard in a thin layer on the bottom of the shell. Spread the cooled onions over the top, then add the cauliflower. Carefully pour the custard over the onions and cauliflower, distributing evenly. Top the tart with the parmesan cheese.

Place the tart on a baking sheet (this will prevent any drips into your oven if the tart happens to spill over in the cooking process) and place on the center rack of your oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is set (meaning not wobbly).

Remove and allow to cool slightly, then get after that bad boy. Ladies and gentlemen, the Oscar goes to…you know who.

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