AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Bermuda Onions (Recipe: Alsatian Tart) DATE: 6/10/2009 08:21:00 AM ----- BODY:

I used to work for a company that had over a dozen lunch-time cafes that featured sandwiches and salads. As one of the more experienced chefs within the company, I was called upon to help with new store openings and trainings. My boss assigned me to work with the deli staff and train them on the recipes. He didn’t think he needed to train me.

The signature tuna salad recipe called for Bermuda onions. Not seeing any sweet, young onions in the storage room, I grabbed a few Spanish onions and started peeling and chopping.

“Didn’t you read the recipe?” My boss asks.

“Yes, of course, " I said somewhat defensively. "It called for Bermuda onions, but there were none, so I used the yellow onions.”

“Bermuda Onions are red onions.”

What??? I had never heard that before. I had learned in cooking school that Bermuda onions were sweet onions, related to the Vidalia or Walla Walla.

Instead of researching on-line or in a food dictionary, I took a poll around the office. Everyone agreed that Bermuda onions were red onions. Still not convinced – I have a sharp memory for things like this, and I knew I couldn’t be wrong – I researched Bermuda onions.

Turns out we were all wrong (though I was less wrong). Bermuda onions fall into the category of sweet onion, whereas, the red and yellow onions are storage onions. Bermuda onions can be white or red, but are young, without the papery skin and often with the green tops still attached.

Bermuda Onion....

Red, Storage Onion....
For more about information about onions, click here. Pictures come from Cook's Thesaurus.

Alsatian Tart
Most sweet onions can be enjoyed raw in sandwiches or salads. But they also caramelize nicely making them great for classic recipes like French Onion Soup or an Alsatian Tart. I use a variation on a pizza dough, but pre-baked puff pastry or pie dough also works well.

¾ cup warm water
1 pkg (or 2 tsp.) yeast
2 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
¼ cup melted butter

3 smoked bacon slices, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Bermuda onions, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup grated gruyere cheese

Make the crust:
1. Dissolve yeast in water.
2. Mix salt, sugar and flour together.
3. Make a well in the flour. Pour in yeasty water and melted butter
4. Incorporate liquid into flour to make dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.
5. Cover dough and let rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours.
6. Punch dough down, and form into 6 balls. Roll each ball into round disks, about ¼ inch thick.
7. Bake in a preheated 450 oven for 12 minutes

Make the Topping:
1. Cook bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer bacon with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain and pour off bacon fat.

2. Add butter to skillet and cook onions with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper over moderate heat, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Cover surface of onions with a round of parchment or wax paper (or cover skillet with a tight-fitting lid) and continue to cook, lifting parchment to stir frequently, until onions are very soft and pale golden, about 20 minutes. Stir in bacon and thyme, then remove from heat.

Top the crust with onions, bacon and gruyere cheese. Bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. If your onions come with green, scallion-like tops, use these to garnish.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous El DATE:6/10/2009 02:18:00 PM Sounds delicious. I'll give it a try. Thanks for the recipe. BTW- I added you to my blog list. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:6/10/2009 03:33:00 PM Who knew? Thanks for clarifying the Bermuda onion issue -- I, too, would have sworn they were white and not red. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Heather DATE:6/10/2009 08:41:00 PM ummm, WOW. that sounds delicious! and i never knew so much about onions! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Mister B DATE:6/10/2009 09:22:00 PM Sounds Good! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:6/10/2009 10:22:00 PM I am now much better informed on onions. The tart sounds wonderful - there is nothing like the melt-in-your mouth flavor of (Bermuda) onions! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Sara DATE:6/10/2009 10:40:00 PM The tart sounds great! I am going to keep an eye out for those onions. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:6/11/2009 06:53:00 AM Hi El - Thanks for visiting! And thanks for adding me to your blog roll.

Lydia - I'm glad you're in my camp.

Heather - Tis the season for the fresh (spring) onions...

Mister B - Thanks for stopping by. Hope you'll visit again soon.

T.W. - I sometimes forget how delicious simple roasted onions can be....

Sara -- thanks! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Anonymous DATE:6/11/2009 10:41:00 AM Very informative post. But what does "green, scallion-like types" mean? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Hopie DATE:6/11/2009 04:28:00 PM Mmm, this tart looks amazing. I'm a fan of caramelized onion and goat cheese together, but gruyere sounds good and the addition of bacon is just brilliant ;-) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:6/11/2009 07:15:00 PM Anon. - Thanks for catching my typo. I corrected it to read, "scallion-like tops."

Hopie -- goat cheese and onions sound like a great combo, too! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Lori Lynn DATE:6/13/2009 03:35:00 PM Good lesson, I did not know that either.
LL ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Jude DATE:6/15/2009 11:03:00 PM I've never heard of bermuda onions before so this was really interesting. Great info and story :) ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Anonymous DATE:6/19/2009 11:46:00 AM Thank you for this recipe. It came out great last night. I made the dough after work and set it to rise while I went to my class. When I came home I did the rest of the recipe. I used Evenstar Farms Thai basil seasoning salt insted of the salt and pepper. It is delicious. The only sad part is that the gruyere cheese was $10 a pound! ----- --------