Update 12/2/2013 – I’m thrilled to announce that this recipe won FIRST PRIZE in the Montasio cheese category! Many thanks to Legends from Europe for sponsoring this contest!
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Legends From Europe and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time and all opinions expressed are my own.
I have a new favorite cheese, thanks to the folks at Legends From Europe, who invited me to participate in their Market Basket contest. Legends from Europe is a three year campaign in the US to increase awareness of five Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products from Italy, and to celebrate their quality, tradition, and taste.
I love everything Italian, especially Italy, so I was very familiar with four out of five of their products: the amazing cured hams- Prosciutto di Parma and Proscuitto di San Daniele, and world renowned cheeses Parmigiano Reggiano, and Grana Padano. I was, however, a little bit worried about the cheese I was assigned to work with, Montasio, because I had never heard or it, and to make matters worse, the cheese department at Whole Foods hadn’t heard of it either. Thank heavens for Wegman’s for introducing me to this cheese, because it is absolutely delightful!
Montasio is a hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano, but it has a much more mild, mellow flavor, almost a bit sweet and spicy at the same time. It’s delicious all by itself, with a glass of wine and some fruit, and I found that it complements foods with a bit of sweetness in them, like the onions in this tart.
- 1 Pillsbury (or other pre-made) pie crust
- 2 large sweet onions, halved and sliced thin
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1½ tsp fresh thyme (divided) plus 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 oz Montasio cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 3 Tbs half and half
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with the pie crust, pressing the crust into the bottom and halfway up the sides. Cover the bottom of the tart crust with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights, or alternately, prick the crust several times with a fork.
- Bake tart crust 15-20 minutes, until it starts to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool a bit.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Sauté onions in olive oil. Add salt, and 1 tsp of fresh thyme plus the 2 sprigs of thyme when onions start to cook down. Cook onions until they are completely soft and caramelized. Remove thyme sprigs.
- Place Montasio in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, and process until finely grated. Add remaining ½ tsp fresh thyme to cheese, and process until finely chopped.
- Beat eggs with half and half in a small measuring cup and set aside.
- Remove any pie weights and parchment paper from the cooled tart crust.
- Spread grated cheese-thyme mixture evenly over the bottom of the tart crust.
- Spread caramelized onions over the cheese, covering the entire crust.
- Drizzle egg-cream mixture evenly over onions.
- Return tart to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes, or golden brown and filling is set.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Have you ever tasted Montasio? Ciao!