Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Onion Pie with Dan and Steve!

In keeping with the flood of variously popular reality shows, the Food Network hosted their own earlier this year to find The Next Food Network Star. Of many worthy and entertaining candidates, two caterers from Chicago won a six episode special: Party Line with Dan and Steve. I really like these guys and I like their show. They're entertaining, informative and, most importantly, their recipes are good.
When I saw the show a few weekends ago, their recipe for Rustic Onion Pie really caught my eye The dough was simple and lean (flour, water and a touch of olive oil) and the filling was even more so (sweet onions, with salt and pepper). Dan said that the recipe is a tradition in his Italian family's get-togethers. The onions are cooked, steamed but not caramelised, until they are quite soft and acquire an almost melting quality after their second cooking in the oven. The dough has a nice flavor and a pleasant, crisp chew. I rather doubt it makes good leftovers, but then, I didn't have any.
The dough can be prepared in advance and it isn't too difficult to roll out. I used Maui onions, but any variety of sweet onion would be wonderful, like Vidalia or Panoche. There is an option to use anchovies in the filling, but I omitted it. This is a great main dish with a salad, or it could be cut into smaller pieces and served as an appetiser or as a side. My only complaint is that the slices were a bit difficult to handle, given that the best way to eat it is to pick up the pieces. Next time I might make individual onion pie pockets.

Rustic Onion Pie
(original, larger recipe from Food Network)

2 cups ap flour
1/2-2/3 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt

2 lbs sweet onions (5-6 onions)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt (a bit more, to taste)
1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine flour, water, 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt until it comes together into a slightly sticky dough. Remove dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, until it is smooth. Divide dough into two balls and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until ready to use.
To make the filling, peel and thinly slice onions and place into a large pot with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover onions and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and translucent, 20-30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350F.Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out one ball of dough until it is approximately 1/8 inch thick and roughly an 10x13 inch rectangle (this is rustic, so you don't have to be exact!). Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet. Place filling on dough, spreading it evenly, but leaving an inch of dough uncovered around the sides. Roll out second dough ball in the same manner, but try to make it a bit larger, an extra 1/2 inch on all sides. Place dough over onion filling and pinch dough together to seal the pie. Crimp the edge of the pie with your fingers (pinch the dough every 1-2 cm). Cut a few small vents in the pie. Brush pie lightly with olive oil.
Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, until the pie is a nice, golden color and the filling bubbles slightly through the vent holes. Allow it to cool, on the baking sheet, for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing (I recommend a pizza cutter).
Makes an (approx) 9x12 inch pie