Seamus and I were invited to a Holiday party at our friend Marco's house this year, and we wanted to bring something delicious with us. Everyone loves french onion soup, and this dish does a creative appetizer version with the same flavors.
My mom and dad were in town when we made this; I spent about an hour caramelizing the onions and our tiny apartment filled with the smells building in our anticipation of the party. When we did arrive, the toasts got eaten up right away; I wish I would have made more!
French Onion Toasts
Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perlman
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Pounds yellow onions, cut into dice of about 1/3 inch (about 4 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Pinch of sugar
1 Tablespoon Cognac, brandy, or vermouth (optional)
1 cup low-sodium beef, veal, or mushroom stock or broth
Freshly ground black pepper
Thirty-two 1/2 inch thick slices form a long baguette
Finely grated Gruyere cheese (you might want a little extra)
1. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan, toss them gently with the butter and oil, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, and cover the pan. Cook the onions for 15 minutes, then remove the lid, stir in the salt and sugar, and saute without the lid for about 10-15 minutes, until the onions are fully caramelized and have taken on a deep-golden color. Pour in Cognac, if using it, and the stock, then turn the heat all the way up and scrape up any brown bits stuck to the pan. Simmer the mixture until the broth almost completely disperses (a small amount of slosh is okay; you don't want to cook it off so much that the onions seem dry), about 5-10 minutes. Adjust the salt, if needed, and season with freshly ground black pepper.
2. Preheat your oven to 75 degrees. Line two baking sheets with foil. Dollop each round of bread with most of a tablespoon of the onion mixture. Add 1 tablespoon grated cheese to the top of each toast, mound it a bit so it all stays in place. Bake the toasts for about 15 minutes, until bubbly and a bit browned. Serve immediately.