CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) - Looking for an easy to make, tasty treat for your next party? IPek Kursat, owner of the Turkish Kitchen in Ashfield, showed us how to make a caramelized onion lentil tart and an easy walnut feta spread.
Caramelized Onion - Lentil Tart
- White Onions - 1 lb
- Green lentils - 1 cup uncooked
- Water or broth - 4 cups
- Salt to taste
- Honey or sugar to taste if the caramelized onions do not turn out sweet enough
- 12 Slices Whole Grain Bread
- Olive oil - ¼ cup
- Thyme - 1 tsp
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Cut onions in half lengthwise; then cross cut each half into ¼ inch slices. It is not critical to be precise with this step as the onions will cook for a long time. You can also chop the onions in a food processor, taking care to create a chunky product.
- Put chopped onions into a large enough frying pan so they can be spread into a thin layer while cooking.
- Add the olive oil and toss to coat the onions.
- Cook on medium-high heat until the juice that onions give off evaporates; then turn the heat to low.
- Stir the onions every 15 minutes or so to make sure they caramelize evenly. If you see any scorching, turn the heat lower until onions slowly turn reddish brown with no black spots. This will take about 2 hours, and it is critical to caramelize the onions slowly, or their sweetness will not develop.
- While the onions are cooking, put the lentils into a heavy-bottomed pot with the water or broth and the bay leaf, and cook on medium heat until lentils are very soft. Add water during cooking if needed. Remove the bay leaf when the lentils are done.
- Trim the crust off 12 slices of whole-grain bread and press the slices into a greased 12-count muffin pan; generously brush each slice with olive oil. When you are done, the top and bottom of each slice should stick up out of the muffin forms.
- Preheat the oven just as the onions and lentils are getting soft.
- When the onions and lentils are done, mix them together thoroughly. Add salt to taste, as well as sugar or honey if needed. (You want the sweetness of the caramelized onions and the salt to be equally present.)
- Add the thyme and mix well again.
- Fill the bread slices in the muffin pan with the onion-lentil mixture.Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until the tops of the bread slices are nicely browned and a crust has formed over the filling.
- Remove from the oven and let cool to lukewarm before serving. Serve with a zesty green salad and roasted red peppers on the side.
A robust red wine like a Malbec with berry flavors is an excellent complement to this dish.
Walnut- Feta Spread
- Feta cheese - ½ lb
- Walnut pieces - 1 cup
- Light cream - ½ cup
- Olive oil - 2 Tbs
- Dill weed to taste
- Soak feta in water for 1-2 days until the excess salt is soaked out. The right level of saltiness will depend on your taste. When the feta is ready, proceed with the recipe below.
- Put the feta, light cream and olive oil through the blender until you have a smooth puree.
- Chop the walnuts in a food processor, or wrap them in a clean dish towel and pound them with a rolling pin until they reach the consistency of coarse meal.
- Mix together the walnuts and the feta-cream-olive oil puree.
- Add fresh or dry dill weed to taste.
- Keep refrigerated in a non-reactive dish (glass is ideal) until ready to serve.
- Serve with baguette slices or your favorite savory cracker.
A fruity white wine is a great complement to this appetizer.