Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's the Bland of Blandonia

So this is the Tomato and Onion Pie I have been talking about for a while. And it was a complete bust.

So I'll post the recipe and then give you comments on where I think she goes wrong and on where I think I went wrong...and we'll see if we can't improve on it somewhat.


2 Spanish onions,
2 lb. of firm tomatoes,
vegetable butter,
and seasoning.

METHOD. - Peel the onions, cover them with boiling water, let them remain for at least 2 hours, then drain and dry thoroughly, and cut them into slices.
Heat up 1 oz. of butter in a frying-pan and fry the onions until lightly browned. Slice the tomatoes, place them in alternate layers with the onion into a greased pie-dish, sprinkling each layer lightly with salt and pepper, and liberally with breadcrumbs.
Cover the whole with a good layer of breadcrumbs, add a few small pieces of butter, and bake in a moderately hot oven for about 1 hour.

TIME. - About 4 hours. SUFFICIENT for 4 to 5 persons.

Now, as you can see from the photos it's just a pile of bread crumbs - this may be my fault, I may have been too heavy handed with them, but it does say 'liberally' to sprinkle them.

Apart from that it was bland... even extra salt and pepper couldn't help it and I think I know why.

Could it be the lengthy soaking of the onion to begin with? Or the frying or the further cooking? All of which result in Spanish onions that are so limp and apologetic as to be almost indiscernible.
Spanish onions aren't the worst kind of onions, as onions go, so this treatment seems rather excessive and produces something definitely unimpressive.

My recommendations: Use brown onions, forgo the 2 hour onion bath, fry the onions if you want or for real bite, don't, and use less breadcrumbs or just sprinkle them on top. And then you would have a pleasant accompaniment to a roast or fish or just about anything.


Kate said...

There's a distinct lack of garlic and fresh herbs in that recipe. What kind of 'seasoning' did you use?

If doesn't seem very pie-ish. More like a random veggie bake. It strikes me as needing something substantial to pie it up?

weenie_elise said...

I used salt and pepper and seasoning as that's all that's mentioned in the recipe...

I do make something like this but with normal onions and tomato which is quite tasty but this was just bland...

I think it's not really a pie but au gratin unless the breadcrumbs in the middle were supposed to glom together... but they didn't...

50sgal said...

I think that modern people are more used to many spices, but I bet in 19th century england, most of these spices were not common nor affordable on the whole, do you think that might be true? It is so easy for us to just grab a spice jar today, but it is amazing to think back on how the spice trade really was 'back in the day'. I think it looks lovely, but of course I would add meat to it and when cooking the onions use a bone to get the taste from the marrow. But that isn't very vegetarian is it?