Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst has three onion dishes for host Robin Young to share, including her takes on the classic onion dip and soup. These recipes and tips come from Kathy’s cookbook “Soup Swap,” published by Chronicle Books.
Onions are the flavor base of so many cuisines around the world. They can be sharp and strong when raw, and sweet and silky when cooked long and slow.
There are so many types of onions we thought we would take you through some of the most common varieties:
Always look for onions that feel heavy, are free of bruises and blemishes and don’t have a smelly, old-onion flavor. When you gently squeeze the onions they should be firm and tight, not soft or mushy.
Store onions in a cool, dark spot like a cellar or cool pantry. Once cut, you can cover the remaining onion and refrigerate.
Remember that great dip of your childhood? You sprinkled the dry packet of dehydrated onions into a bowl of sour cream, dipped salty potato chips in, and, well, it was pure comfort food.
My version is made with five types of onions — red onion, sweet Vidalia onions, shallots, leeks and garlic — cooked long and slow so their natural sugars emerge. The caramelized onions are then deglazed with balsamic vinegar and mixed up with sour cream. The result is the same delicious, creamy dip (only way better!), with pure onion flavors and no additives. Serve the dip with potato chips, pita chips or raw vegetables.
This French-style tart combines onions slow-cooked until they are creamy, silky and sweet. The cooked onions are mixed with cream and grated Parmesan cheese and herbs. This is a main-course tart, served with a salad or cut into small squares to serve as a first course or hors d’oeuvre. The crust can be made several days ahead of time.
Serves 4 to 8.
The Herb Pastry
The Onion Filling
This classic French soup is made with beef stock and a heavy blanket of sautéed onions and leeks. You can keep it “light-ish” and serve the soup as is, without the traditional cheese and bread topping.
In Parisian bistros, the onion soup is placed in an ovenproof bowl, topped with a slice of crusty bread and smothered with grated gruyere. I find this method a bit heavy-handed and instead like to make a simple double-cheese croute to place on top of the soup just before serving. The heat of the soup melts the cheese and softens the bread.
If there’s any way you can make this soup a day ahead of time, you will be greatly rewarded. The onions, stock and wine all “settle down” overnight and become good friends. This is a main-course soup meant to be served with red wine and a big green salad.
This recipe is adapted from my book “Soup Swap” (Chronicle Books).
The term “croute” refers to toasted slices of crusty bread in the shape of an over-sized crouton. These crisp, cheesy croutes are the perfect topping for any soup, but particularly French-style onion soup.
Makes 12 croutes.
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.