Beau and I had to grit our teeth as we pulled the rather robust spring onions from the earth in which they were grasped tightly into. So much so that Beau, at one stage, fell right back onto his bottom. We laughed so hard. He was eager to get them all out, without any help mind you. Some were long and slender - your typical spring onion, while others had grown quite the girth.
They are by far one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seed and I always seem to have great success with them. They tend to just look after themselves, which is an added bonus. Their mild, onion-y flavour is a rather lovely addition to a simple salad - gently folded into a dressing of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. They take on an entirely different flavour when slowly braised so that they are as delicate as their soft, creamy slender stems and snow-white bulbs.
It was upon caramelising them that they really sang to me though - sweet, soft, buttery notes. I had made the almond and spelt pastry the day before. I love doing this. Allowing the buttery disc to rest in the fridge overnight. It makes me feel somewhat organised as all that is needed to do the following day is to make the filling, which in this case is so very simple and I am all for simple these days - what with having two little scallywags - one at my feet, the other standing right next to me at the kitchen bench. The latter little person more often than not "stealing" my ingredients for his own creations! And I don't think it will be too long before the little lady will be fighting for her position up at the bench either! Oh goodness.
This tart is rustic beauty at its finest, just the way I like it. A whisk, a rolling pin and your own two hands are pretty much all that is needed, along with a few simple ingredients to have this ready for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Any leftovers make for a wonderful easy lunch the following day too, cold, straight from the fridge.
Spring onion cheese tart
makes a 35cm tart
For the pastry
180g spelt flour
45g almond meal
pinch of salt
125g cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 egg yolk
approx 1/4 cup cold water
Whisk the flour, almond meal and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs (its ok to have some larger pieces of butter throughout) add the yolk and mix in with your fingertips followed by the water bit by bit until it comes together. Try to do this as gently as possible as you don't want to overwork it which will develop gluten resulting in a dough that is hard to roll out and will quite often be tough when cooked. Bring into a flattish disc and wrap in baking paper. Set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight if you are feeling organised.
The following day, remove the pastry from the fridge to bring back to a roll-able temperature while you make the filling.
For the filling
A big bunch of spring onions, about 2 bunches if buying from the market (about 400g)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 cup grated raw milk Yarrawa (I love using Pecora Dairy)
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1 tbsp cream or milk
Preheat your oven to 190 degrees celsius (fan-forced)
In a large pan over a medium-low heat add in the butter and oil. Slice off the ends and any straggly bits of the spring onions and then slice both the white and the green. Add these to the pan once the butter has melted, stirring to coat. Continue to cook slowly until they have collapsed and smell sweet and buttery. This can take about 15-20 minutes. Add in the vinegar and cook for another minute until it has evaporated. Now you can remove it from the heat.
In a seperate bowl whisk the egg, cream, dijon and both cheeses together until combined. Season with salt and a good grinding of pepper. Stir through the spring onions.
Roll out the pastry on to the baking paper in which it was wrapped with until you get as close to a 35cm round. Have ready a baking tray or round pizza tray and place your round in the center. Spoon the spring onion mixture into the center and then spread it out to a 20cm round. Fold the edges of the pastry up and over and pleat. Brush with egg wash if you so desire - 1 egg mixed with a dash of cream or milk and then cook for about 35 minutes or until just set and the pastry is lusciously golden. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then serve.