At this time of year when fresh, local produce is lean, I am increasingly grateful for the bushel baskets of onions and shallots we have squirreled away in our basement. As each gardening season passes, my husband and I have been devoting more and more garden space to produce that will keep well into the winter. Everyone loves tomatoes and lettuce and other ephemeral beauties of summer, but the plants in my garden that make me the happiest are the alliums. Long rows of bright green leaves, sturdy and abundant even in early summer… I’ve been found belly-down with camera in hand, snapping photographs, covered in mud and quite pleased with myself.

I even love weeding them, reaching between the cool plants, listening to their hollow thunk as they knock together. It has the sound of a rustic, wooden wind chime. This is me at my happiest (and possibly the most smug) during the garden season.

So now when spring still feels a long way away, and 15 inches of new snow covers my garden beds, I feel blessed by that wealth of onions hoarded away, knowing I can be generous with them. It takes three pounds of onions for the caramelized onions in this recipe and you’ll certainly have leftovers. But that’s exactly why I plant so many onions each spring- abundance at this time of year is a good thing.


Caramelized Onion and Artichoke Tart

Originally from Maria Speck’s book Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, I encountered this recipe on The Wednesday Chef’s blog and have quite a few adjustments.


  • 2 ¾ c. low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ t. sea salt
  • 1 ¼ c. polenta
  • ½ c. (about 2.5 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ¼ t. freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Place polenta, chicken broth, salt and pepper into a 9x9” baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until polenta is thick, stirring once or twice.

2. Remove from oven and stir in the cheese and eggs.
3. Grease a 9-inch springform pan or cake pan with olive oil. Have a glass of cold water ready. Spoon the polenta into the pan and press it out, pushing it up the sides. Dip a wooden spoon or your hands in the cold water to help the polenta along. Set aside for 15 minutes and then form an even rim about 3/4 of an inch thick with moist fingers, pressing firmly. Don't worry if the crust looks rustic.
4. Put a rack in the center of the oven and increase heat to 375 F.

Onion and Artichoke filling:

  • 1 c. plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ c. finely chopped scallions
  • 2 T. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 handful chopped arugula leaves
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  • ¼ t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ozs. artichoke hearts, canned or frozen
  • ½ c. caramelized onions, see recipe below
  • ½ c. (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
  • ¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Whisk the yogurt, eggs, scallions, parsley, arugula, salt and pepper together until well-combined. Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters and distribute them evenly over the polenta crust. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top of the artichokes and distribute the caramelized onions evenly across the artichokes and cheese. Pour the yogurt filling evenly over the artichokes. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.

2. Bake the tart until the top turns golden brown and the filling is set, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for at least 20 minutes, though 40 is better. The tart can be prepared up to one day ahead.

Caramelized Onions

From Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

  • 4 T. butter
  • 3 # onions
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 1 T. vinegar- I used cider vinegar

Melt butter over med heat in a deep skillet, letting it color a little. Add the onions, stir and cover. Cook until limp and reduced in volume, about 5 min. Then turn heat to low and toss onions with 1 ¼ t. salt. Cover, cook for 20 min. then add the wine and cover again. Every 20 min or so, give them a stir. After about an hour, the onions will begin to brown. You can hear them begin to sizzle. Now start stirring more frequently so they don’t burn. When they are a rich, golden brown, stir in the vinegar and turn off the heat. Taste for salt and season with pepper.