trashy or classy: a choose your own adventure appetizer

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Do you remember those books, the ones we had as kids? Choose your own adventure books, where you’re started in one place and your own decisions send you on kooky, unique adventures. While I wasn’t always into science fiction, these books made me very happy. Every time I picked one up, the resulting experience was different. Special to my moods and whims.

In a very similar way, I think the very best recipes are flexible and unique to the day’s whims. While not every recipe is built to do this, creating a successful flexible recipe makes me one happy cook.

This recipe is spawned from my very casual New Years Eve in Charleston. Looking for something easy to make, affordable and tasty to snack on after an early dinner, this was an easy take on an onion tart. Where does the classy or trashy part come into play? Well, depending on where you live, what grocery store you’re nearest to, or what you like, this could be crescent rolls and bacon or puff pastry and pancetta, or anywhere in between.

Caramelized Onion Tart

  • 1 package of puff pastry or 1 can crescent rolls
  • 2-4 onions, sliced thin
  • 1 pound bacon or pancetta, diced into cubes
  • Fresh herbs of choice
  • Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Caramelize the onions thoroughly. This is an easy task, just takes patience. It can take anywhere from 20-45 minutes. I start the onions on medium, and stir every 3-4 minutes. About 15 minutes in, add a glug of balsamic vinegar and a splash of white wine [or water]. Turn the eye to low and stir every 5 minutes until the onions are soft and brown.

Render your cured pork of choice on low until crispy. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

On an oiled baking sheet, roll out the puff pastry or crescent rolls in one solid sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on top, spread the caramelized onions out in one layer and add the pork. If you’d like, you can add a sprinkling of fresh herbs [thyme, rosemary or oregano would be fantastic]. Add shaved or grated Parmesan cheese and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the dough is crispy and baked through.

Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes and move the tart to a cutting board. If you’ve used crescent rolls, the triangular markings made in dough will give you eight pieces of tart. Otherwise, cut into desired shapes.

Serves 6-8 people as an appetizer.

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