Thursday, June 3, 2010

Caramelized Onions - Success!

I keep on doing this, where I let a week or two go by without posting, and then post about 6 recipes at once.
I decided to give caramelized onions another try.  I got the idea from the broccoli recipe, and then decided that they would also be delicious in a strata.
I started with the strata.  I had gone to my Take It Away (best sandwich shop ever), and of course, I couldn't leave without buying a bag of their bread ends.  This time I think there was even more bread than the last time!  Which turned out to be a good thing.  The recipe called for 1/2 lb,
so I cubed it,
and since it was still really soft and fresh after sitting out for a day, I decided to toast it.  I had the onions caramelizing, stuck the bread in the oven, and sat back to watch tv.  Then I promptly forgot about the bread.  I wasn't worried about the onions, since they were on very low heat.  After a little while, I started to think I was forgetting about something.  Then I remembered the bread!  I expected to find little black mounds where each cube was, but they actually didn't burn.  They became perfect croutons.
And then I turned them into breadcrumbs.  Kind of coarse, but still good.
So now that the first batch of bread cubes was unusable, I was very happy to still have a lot of bread left.  This time I set a timer, in case whatever I was watching on tv (most likely Gilmore Girls reruns) sucked me in.
This strata was just as delicious as the others I have made.  I actually think this was the best yet!  I followed my favorite recipe, except I used fresh herbs (basil and rosemary), the dairy I had on hand, caramelized onions, and fresh tomatoes.
I made the mistake of making this two days before going out of town for a long weekend, so I decided to bring it with me!  It was definitely a hit with my grandparents!

Recipe: Caramelized Onions
3 medium red onions, sliced thinly
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter

Heat the oil and butter over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add onions,
and cook until they are starting to soften.
Turn down the heat and cook for 2-3 hours or until caramelized, stirring occasionally.
Then use with everything!

Recipe: Strata with Caramelized Onions, Tomatoes and Goat Cheese (adapted from Baking and Books)
1/2 lb artisan bread, cubed
Caramelized red onions (the equivalent of 1-2 onions)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt

6 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
2 tbsp fresh basil, julienned
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced

1/4 lb goat cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
If your bread is still soft, toast it for a few minutes.  Don't forget about it like I did!
Caramelize the onions, as above.  If using pre-prepared onions, then reheat them now over low-medium heat.  Add the garlic and red pepper and saute for a minute.
Add the tomatoes and salt and bring to a simmer.
Stir the bread into the mixture.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, basil and rosemary.
Pour the bread mixture into a 9x9 glass baking dish (or something of a similar size).
Crumble the goat cheese over the bread,
then pour the egg mixture over everything
and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake until the strata has set and is golden on top, about 25 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Refrigerate leftovers - they can last up to a week.

The next night, I still had a lot of caramelized onions left, and decided to use the original recipe I had found.  This is now my favorite way to eat broccoli!  You really have to try this.  The onions are so sweet, they make you think you are eating something decadent.
I didn't have any pine nuts on hand, so I toasted some slivered almonds instead.  They tasted so good, I might just use them every time I make this recipe.
The recipe said that it made 4 servings, but I honestly ate all of this myself!

Recipe: Broccoli with Caramelized Onions (from Baking Bites)
Caramelized red onions (equivalent of 1-2 onions)
1 head broccoli
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
s&p to taste

Make the caramelized onions as above, or reheat (in a pan) some that were previously made.
Boil a salted pot of water.  Add broccoli and cook for just a few minutes, until tender but still crisp.  And make sure they're still bright green.
Add the broccoli to the pan with the onions, and add the balsamic vinegar.  Toss and cook for a few minutes.  Take off the heat, add the toasted almonds, s&p, and enjoy!


j. said...

My first mistake...checking your blog before lunchtime. Now I'm stark-raving-mad hungry and attempting to keep myself from eating my lunch early :x

These recipes look really tasty - Good Job!

Jessiker said...

I would love to see a slice (or two) of that on my plate!

katidyd said...

Oh my goodness those look delicious!! Glad the onions worked well for you this time. I think it's so funny that you have the Gilmore Girls guilty pleasure, too. My daughter (now 2.5) still whips her head around from whatever she's doing when the theme song starts (and can sing most of it word for word)!!