Cafe Society

Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Vidalia onion and Ritz-crust quiche

Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them and cook up a feast.

If you've wandered around the produce section of the markets lately, then you already know it's prime season for Vidalia onions, those sweet, mild, yellow crops that have a relatively short shelf life but give food a long blast of mellow flavor. The official Georgia state vegetable, which can only be grown in a twenty-county production area in and around Vidalia, Georgia, in order to legally wear the Vidalia label, has its share of copycats, but none that rival the original. And, in fact, under Georgia's 1986 Vidalia Onion Act, abuse of the Vidalia name can amount to a fine of up to $20,000. "That's pride of place," says Barb. "I like this recipe because it sounds a little trashy, with its Ritz crust and all, but, hey, let's face it: Sometimes trashy food is delicious," she admits.

See also: - Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Stracotto - Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Coq au vin - What's cooking? Pete Marczyk goes New Mex in the city with green chile

Vidalia Onion Ritz-crust quiche Courtesy of Lisa Mayfield, Raleigh, North Carolina

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups Ritz crackers, finely crushed 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 2 cups Vidalia onions or other sweet onions, thinly sliced 3/4 cup whole milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat) 2 eggs 3/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup packed grated sharp cheddar cheese Paprika for dusting Fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Directions Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Mix crackers and 4 tablespoons butter in bowl until well blended. Press mixture on bottom and 1 inch up sides of 8-inch pie plate 2. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until tender, about 12 minutes; arrange onions on cracker crust. 3. Beat milk, eggs and salt in medium bowl until blended. Season with pepper. Pour egg mixture over onions in crust. Sprinkle cheese over filling and dust with paprika. 4. Bake pie at 350 degrees until knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Pete's blog and Marczyk Fine Wines.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson