Thursday, June 3, 2010
I am in an eternal search for elegant, yet simple and seasonal meals. Quality ingredients and minimal steps guide me to recipes just like this. One of my favorite cookbooks, Living and Eating by John Pawson and Annie Bell, is loaded with this exact mantra. Every recipe I have tried has proven itself to be something worth repeating over and over and over.
This onion soup could be classified as a classic vichyssoise, though it is served warm. It's incredibly filling and comforting. Try to buy locally grown, organic onions as they are the standout in this soup. If you have it, home-made chicken or vegetable stock really makes a huge difference, as well. Buttery croutons and fresh chives are the perfect garnish for this wonderfully simple soup.
White Onion Soup
From Living and Eating by John Pawson and Annie Bell.
5 TBLS unsalted butter
2 1/2 lbs white onions, peeled, halved and sliced
3 thyme sprigs
Sea salt, black pepper
2/3 cup white wine
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy whipping cream
Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add onions and thyme and sprinkle a heaping teaspoon of sea salt and sweat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from coloring. By the end they should be silky and soft. Pour in wine and increase heat slightly. Simmer until it is well reduced. Ad stock, bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 10-15 minutes.
Discard thyme sprigs and puree the soup in batches (or use an immersion blender), adding creme fraiche and a few grinds of black pepper. Check seasoning and return to a clean saucepan and reheat gently.
Garnish with fresh croutons and chives.
One of my favorite additions to soups and salads, I usually have a few-days-old loaf of french baguette laying around...
About 1/2 cup of diced bread, crust removed
1- 2 TBLS butter
1 TBLS olive oil
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional
In a cast iron skillet, or heavy skillet, heat butter and oil until just melted. Add bread cubes and roll around so as to get all sides soaked in butter and oil, if the croutons are still dry, add more butter and oil. Think "more is better", season with salt and pepper (or, I love to use garlic salt and pepper). Turn heat up slightly to toast cubes, tossing around occasionally to get all sides toasted. Once lightly toasted, turn heat off and allow to continue toasting in warm pan. If using Parmesan cheese, grate right on top of croutons while in pan, shake them around a bit. Allow to cool and serve.