Love in the kitchen ... Tarte aux tomates et l'oignon gratinée

If you're like most food lovers, you can't get enough of fresh, sweet basil, vine-ripened tomatoes, cheeses and the piece de résistance, carmelized onions. Here's a recipe that combines all of the above, and believe it, you'll fall in love in your kitchen the minute you make and serve it. Using two kinds of cheeses (shredded French gruyere and freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano), succulent tomatoes, fresh basil, and a lovely sauté of thinly-sliced red onion, it's a best bet for Sunday game-watching, or a meatless Friday night supper. Make two or three and serve on a buffet.  Again, as with many of The Empty Nester Gourmet's recipes, less than an hour, from your grocer's shelf to your dinner table.

1 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
2 shallots, sliced paper thin
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 tbsp. butter
4 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced very thinly
2 tbsp. freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 c. shredded French gruyere cheese
1 small bunch -- about 20 leaves -- fresh sweet basil
Fleur de sel and freshly grated pepper to taste
One pate brisée or store-bought dough, rolled to a 12" round.
Flour for rolling pin and surface

Preheat oven to 425F

1. Sauté onion, shallots and garlic in the olive oil and butter until brown and deeply carmelized. Allow to cool slightly and spread on rolled dough round.

2. Top with gruyere, layered tomatoes in a spiral-type pattern, basil, parmesan, salt and pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

3. Bake 10 minutes at 425F and 10 more minutes at 400F. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Panko Crusted Salmon

Mustard-roasted and Panko-coated, this is definitely not your mama's salmon! This flavorful twist on a low-calorie, high-protein dish will become an instant favorite in your home and among friends. It's so simple to prepare, takes less than an hour from start to finish. No sweet teryaki or salty soy here, but loaded with delicious herbs and spices.

Served with rice, or just a crispy salad of mixed greens, it's a meal that you'll make again and again.


1½ lbs. salmon filet
2 tbsp. mustard
2 tsp. fresh thyme (chopped)
2/3 c. Panko (Japanese dried breadcrumbs)
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leafed parsley
½ tsp. Hungarian or other good quality paprika
4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.
1    1. Set salmon on foil lined baking sheet, skin side down.
2    2. Combine mustard and 1 tsp. thyme in small bowl.
3    3. In another bowl mix Panko w/1 tsp. thyme, 4 tsp. olive oil, parsley and paprika.
4    4. Spread mustard mixture on salmon.
5    5. Top w/bread crumb mixture.
6    6. Roast salmon at 400F degrees, 15-40 mins depending on thickness of salmon. Check after 15 mins. and adjust time.