Taqueria del Sol chef David Waller shares this seasonal recipe featuring Georgia Vidalia onions and tasso, a smoked, cured pork product popular in Cajun cooking. Serve the tart for brunch or a light supper with a green salad. Note that the tart's crust must be prepared in advance. Lard gives the crust's dough a flaky texture. If you prefer, you may substitute solid vegetable shortening, butter, or a combination of both.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound tasso (or other smoked ham), cut into small cubes
3 medium Vidalia onions, peeled, cut into small cubes
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 prepared 9-inch Tart Crust
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons lard
2–3 tablespoons ice water
1. Make the crust: In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup flour, salt, and lard, and mix with 2 forks until it is the consistency of course meal. In a cup, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons water. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Shape the dough into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
2. Unwrap dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a circle about 12 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Lift by rolling onto rolling pin; transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. (Do not stretch dough, or it will shrink when cooked.) Cut off excess dough around edges and place shell in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to chill and be ready for use.
3. Make the tart: In a sauté pan over low heat combine oil and tasso; cook until tasso starts to brown. Remove ham and save juice in pan. Add onions to pan and continue to cook over medium-low heat until onions are caramelized, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove onions from heat and place in strainer to remove excess juice, and cool. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Add the onions, tasso, thyme, and cream; mix well to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper.
5. Pour filling into the prepared tart crust and bake until filling is golden and top and set in the center.
Photograph by Jeff Moore of Garnish Food Photography, courtesy of Green Olive Media