Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jade: Bitemyonions

It struck me today as I was stirring my jam into oblivion...that ICheck Spelling have an affinity for stinky food~enter garlic, cheese..( remind me to tell you about the time my Chinese flatmate threw my mature french brie away because she thought it'd gone bad) sauce..shrimp paste..durian..and who can forget the one thing dating sites tell you to avoid at all costs on any date...besides stories about an unhealthy relationship with your cats...Onions. Personally, I think onions have been rather wronged in this instance. I get that raw onions are quite pungent, albeit deliciously so..but cooked the right way, onions are possibly one of the most delightful vegetables around~tender, almost melty, all the sweetness coaxed out of it and none of the acridity. And because the flavour of cooked onion is so delicate, it goes beautifully with just about anything. So the one thing I make sure I always have in the fridge is a jar of onion jam...ready to be slathered onto a hunk of good, crusty bread, topped with whatever I'm in the mood for. I promise you.. you'll never look at a store-bought sandwich again ;)

Onion jam

3 large onions [ or red onions, which I find sweeter..both make lovely jams]
olive oil
freshly cracked black pepper
dry thyme
3-4 tbsp brown sugar
75ml white wine [or red wine if you're using red onions..for no other reason than the fact that I'm shallow and like to colour coordinate stuff]
2-3 tbsp vinegar [ I used lemon juice because I had one lying around]
Worchestershire sauce to taste [optional]

1. Peel onions, cut in half and dunk in ice cold water for about 5 minutes or as long as it takes to get yourself sorted. I find it helps cut the sting a fair bit.
2. Slice onions thinly
3. Heat up a generous glug of olive oil is a non stick pan, toss in the onions and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes
4. Add salt, pepper and herbs, cover and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. Check it once in a while to make sure nothing burns. It should be a light golden brown at this point
5. Add sugar, wine, vinegar and Worchestershire sauce, bring to a boil and lower the heat so the mixture simmers gently.
6. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring as you go along until you're left with a very sticky, toffee hued mixture. It will burn if you're not careful, so bad time to make phonecalls.
7. Taste and adjust seasoning, I quite like a slightly sweeter jam as it balances out the saltiness of the cured meats and cheeses I usually have it with..but your jam, your call.
8. Let it cool and store...or if you're like me, pop a ciabatta roll into the oven to crisp up when the jam is nearly ready; once it's done, pile on the piping hot caramelized onion, top with cold roast chicken and eat standing.. over the stove:)

* This jam also goes wonderfully with roast vegetables and feta cheese on a crunchy baguette.

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