Caramelized Onion Tart “Tatin”

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For best results, bake this in a well-seasoned cast-iron pan. Let it cool slightly before flipping the pan over and easing out the tatin. Serve as a first course or as a main course with salad and cheese for a vegetarian meal. Adrienne made this in a class at Brookside Gardens in May 2016.

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1.5# boiler onions, peeled and slice in half around the middle
2 T brown sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 C crumbled goat cheese
1 (8 oz.) sheet puff pastry

Preheat oven to 400°. In a 10-inch cast-iron or other oven-proof pan, melt butter with olive oil. Place onion cut-side down in hot fat and cook until onions are soft and turning brown, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine sugar and balsamic, stir to incorporate. Add to onions and let sizzle until they caramelize, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and let the pan and onions cool about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle 3/4 of the cheese over the onions. Roll out the pastry dough gently and press over the cheese. Prick lightly with a fork. Bake 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden and filling bubbles up around the edge. Set aside for a few minutes, then invert on a plate and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Syrup and Creamy Goat Cheese

grilledpeaches2A summertime “must” —  sweet and tangy, elegant as a side dish or a perfect end to a meal. We’ve also seen this garnished with nuts — pecans or almonds. Or even glazed almonds. A shortcut comes in the form of Wegman’s Balsamic Glaze, which you can use in place of making your own — though the scent of the reduction will fill your house and get your appetite going. The recipe was demoed by Danielle at US Botanic Garden August 6, 2015.

4 peaches (firm are best)
¼ C lemon juice
1 T dark brown sugar
1 C balsamic vinegar
2 oz. soft goat cheese
Fresh chopped mint or basil, for garnish (optional)
Light the grill or preheat an indoor tabletop grill.

Slice the peaches in half, remove the pit and set aside. Mix together the lemon juice and brown sugar. Add the peach halves and coat well with the lemon-sugar mixture.

Put the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat once the vinegar boils, and let simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Grill the peaches: place marinated peaches, skin side down, on the grill in indirect heat (if using outdoor grill). Cook about 2 minutes, until grill marks form. Turn over and do the same for the other side. Transfer to a serving platter, skin side up. Place a dollop of goat cheese inside the groove of each peach half. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar and serve immediately. Garnish with mint or basil. Serves 8.


Green Bean Salad with Walnuts, Fennel and Goat Cheese

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Got green beans coming out of your ears? This month at the US Botanic Gardens here in Washington, DC, we brought two new salads using this popular legume. Green beans aren’t just to be tossed in a little butter – these summery salads are sure to zing things up.

1 ½ T Dijon mustard
2 T white wine vinegar
¾ t sea salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ pounds green beans, trimmed (a combination of green and yellow is great)
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced into half-moons (1¼ to 1½ C)
¾ C walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 (4-oz) log fresh goat cheese, crumbled
¼ C fresh dill, chopped
¼ C flat leaf parsley, chopped

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Gradually add the oil and whisk until well combined; set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool, and set aside until you’re ready to assemble the salad.

In a large bowl, combine the green beans, fennel, and walnuts. Add the goat cheese, herbs and vinaigrette just before serving (the acidity of the vinegar with turn the green beans to a dull green if marinated). Toss well and serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 8-10.