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Modern Flavours of Arabia

By on June 12, 2013
Screen shot 2013 06 11 at 1.56.12 PM 300x336 - Modern Flavours of Arabia

Caramelized Onion Tart with Sumac Roast Chicken
6 servings

2½ cups flour 
2 tsp cracked black pepper
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes
3 Tbsp cold water 
1 egg

½ cup olive oil
8 medium onions, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, sliced 
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
Small handful of fresh thyme 
2 Tbsp sumac plus extra to coat the chicken
3 chicken breasts, on the bone
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh pomegranate seeds
½ cup toasted pine nuts

    In a bowl put the flour, black pepper, salt and sugar and mix. Put in the cold butter cubes and using your fingers rub the butter into the flour to make a crumbly consistency. Make a well in the center and pour in the water and egg. Bring the flour gradually together and mix quickly to make a smooth dough. Flatten slightly into a disk and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour until ready to use.
    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out the pastry to fit two 13- x 4-inch tart pans with a removable bottom. Prick the base with a fork. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Line the pastry with parchment paper, fill with dried beans to prevent from rising and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and paper, turn down the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 15 minutes until a light golden color. Cool the pastry. Remove from the pan, place on flat serving platters and set aside.
    Put the olive oil in a large heavy-based pot. On medium heat sauté the onions and garlic. Sprinkle in the salt, pepper and sugar. Stir to coat the onions well and turn down the heat to low. Add the fresh thyme. Cook gently, stirring, taking care not to burn them. The onions will caramelize and sweeten as they cook in about 40 minutes. When they are meltingly soft, remove from the heat and stir in the sumac. They will turn a pinkish color. Pour into a colander sitting in a bowl to drain the excess oil. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat the chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper and sumac. Roast for about 30–40 minutes. When done, remove, cover lightly with foil and leave to rest. To assemble the tart, spread the caramelized onions on the pastry. Remove the chicken from the bones, thinly slice and place on top of the onions. Garnish with pine nuts and a few fresh thyme sprigs and pomegranate seed.

Arugula and Thyme Salad

1 handful fresh wild thyme (or fresh oregano),
washed and drained
2 cups arugula leaves
½ red onion, sliced thin
2 green onions, chopped
20 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 clove garlic, mashed
juice of 2 lemons
extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp sumac 

Place the fresh thyme and arugula leaves in a nice salad bowl. Add the onions. Scatter the tomatoes on top. Make the dressing by mixing the mashed garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Pour over the salad. Sprinkle on the sumac, salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat evenly. Serve as a side salad or add a few cubes of feta cheese on top and enjoy it as a complete meal in itself. This tart is my version of mou’sakhan, a traditional dish. The onions have to be cooked slowly in the best oil to caramelize. I like to serve my tart with a fresh thyme and arugula salad, and yogurt on the side. Lunch couldn’t be better.

Excerpted from Modern Flavors of Arabia. Copyright © 2012 Suzanne Husseini. Published by Random House Canada, an imprint of the Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group, which is a division of Random House of Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.



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