Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Caramelized onion and mushroom galette

Have you ever been out at a restaurant and watched other people eat?  I mean, really watched them to see if they are totally enjoying whatever it is they ordered.  It's basically People Watching: Food Edition.  This is not to be confused with staring because that's just plain creepy.  People watching is for refined folks like ourselves.

I love to watch how others react to both something delicious and something dreadful.  Kids tend to be more overt about their feelings toward their food, which makes watching them dig in and get food all over their faces much more fun (especially when you think of the parents who must bathe said children later).

Adults, however, are more complicated thanks to two very powerful words: social etiquette.  Sometimes, they're forced to mute their feelings in order to be a gracious guest and not offend the host cook.  Or one partner will force his way through a dish not to look like a picky eater to a woman on their first date.

But, the worst fate, as far as I'm concerned, is when a person must share her attention between present company and an extraordinary dish.  You know that feeling -- we've all had it -- when your plate is clean and you realize you didn't really savor the food at all, and you want a do-over.  How tragic!

All of this is basically a long-winded way of saying that I prefer to dine with people I know well.  Don't we all, right?

Because when I eat something that's really good, I mean really, really stop what you're doing and take a bite of this now good, I do two slightly odd things.

First, I close my eyes.  This happens without any conscious thought, but I'd say it's my attempt at drowning out my other senses and focusing on the sense of taste.

Then, I usually curse.  Sometimes it's in my mind, and sometimes it's out loud.  I'm not normally a proponent of being a potty mouth, but... well... sometimes sh*t happens, you know?

This is one of those dishes that you are going to want to make for your friends.  Not only because you love them and want to make them a delicious dinner, but also so you can feel free to close your eyes and string together whatever bleep-worthy words necessary to express your satisfaction with this dish because it's really, really stop-what-you're-doing-and-take-a-bite-of-this-now good!

Caramelized onion and mushroom galette!  

Two layers of sweet caramelized onions surrounding tender and buttery mushrooms topped with nutty melted Jarlsberg Swiss cheese and all wrapped up in a buttery and flaky crust.  TDF (to die for) and then some, I'm telling you!

Paired with a salad, this was the ultimate in simple but super meals.  Nothing like letting the few ingredients used do the work for you and create the most fabulous flavor combinations.  Mushrooms and onions were meant to be together, I swear.

I think this is a true example of my perfect meal: lots of vegetables, cheese, and crust.  Worried it's not enough to satisfy a man-ppetite?  Stop right there.  Not only is it filling, but it's got all of the parts of a gourmet mushroom, onion, and Swiss burger, sans burger.  Trust me, he won't miss the burger with all of that flavor.

And no one will miss the uptight restaurant atmosphere and judgmental waiters.  This is a dish to enjoy whenever, however, and with whomever you want, eye-closing and cursing be damned ;-)

One year ago: Pizza burgers
Two years ago: Cranberry and pistachio biscotti
Three years ago: Basic buttercream icing

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Galette
(an original recipe!)
-serves 4

A few notes: While we certainly enjoyed the heck out of this for dinner and lunch the following day, I can't help but think it would be a lovely brunch dish as well.  Top with sunny side up eggs for a bright and breakfast-y twist!  Also, if Swiss cheese isn't your thing, there are many other delicious options such as asiago, Gruyere, or parmesan.  Just look for a firmer cheese.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 very large sweet onion, cut in half and thinly sliced into half moons
16 ounces button mushrooms, sliced 1/2 to 1/4-inch thick
1/2 recipe homemade pie dough or 1 refrigerated premade pie crust
Dried thyme
Ground black pepper
3 ounces (about 1/2 cup grated) Jarslberg Swiss cheese
Milk, for brushing

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Add 1 teaspoon of oil to a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add onion, some salt and pepper, tossing to coat evenly.  Cook 20 minutes, stirring often, until onions have softened and turned a lovely shade of golden caramel.  Remove onions to a bowl and set aside.

In same saute pan, add remaining teaspoon of oil and add mushrooms, a little more salt, and pepper, tossing to coat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have turned brown and released most of their liquid.  Remove pan from heat and pour mushrooms onto a paper-towel lined plate in order to remove as much moisture as possible from them.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie crust and transfer to a parchment-lined large rimmed baking sheet.  Leaving a 2 to 3-inch border around the center, spread out 1/2 of the onions on the dough.  Layer with mushrooms, evenly distributing, and finish with remaining onions.  Sprinkle with a little more pepper and dried thyme.  Top with shredded cheese.  Fold in sides of the dough circle roughly, pressing slightly to adhere pieces to one another.  Brush edges of dough with milk.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is bubbling.  Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into slices.  Serve with a salad and enjoy!

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