Wednesday 22 October 2014

Onion Fondue

All you need. And to be honest, it would work without the spring onions and chives.

Increasingly I'm finding that the most appreciated dishes are the simplest. Guests seem to respond to the immediacy of flavour: mushroom and truffle soup, pineapple and lime ice, rhubarb sorbet, salted caramel, pan fried fish, steaks with just a fresh turn of salt and pepper. The one exception that really kiboshes this rule is gravy: as complex as you like. 

I found this recipe for onion fondue in Glynn Purnell's new book. A dish of melting sweet onions, fresh scallions and chopped chives stirred into crème fraîche. As easy to make as it is to eat. I'll post a photo next time I make it, which will be soon.

Initially I intended to serve it with some pan fried cod; a novel variation of the richer, more buttery hollandaise or beurre blanc. But once I tried it I knew I'd struggle to find something it didn't compliment. It's a huge savoury blast but creamy and not too heavy. Onions are the heart of so many dishes and it's nice to give them a starring role.

Onion Fondue - serves four as a side

Take 2 large white onions (the sweeter ones if you can - Sainsbury's do them), slice finely and sauté gently in 50g butter for maybe 20 minutes until soft and yielding. If there's any colour it should be a tinge of gold. We're not fast frying for hamburger bait.

The onions can be removed from the heat and kept until needed.

When ready to eat, warm the onions through and stir in 300g crème fraîche. Add 4 chopped spring onions and a good handful of chopped chives. Serve. All the allium you could want.

You could easily pimp this up with some herbs; tarragon, parsley or sage spring to mind. Perhaps some crispy bacon for those who do, or a few flamed cherry tomatoes. In fact, a scoop of fondue on toast would make a very satisfying, if unbalanced, supper dish.

I like to read around a recipe before recommending one, just to see if there are variations I missed (there always are). I saw an American site - TasteOf that listed a french onion fondue as a 'simple, three ingredient dish'. Good. That's what I was after.

Guess what the three ingredients were?

  • 1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
  • 1 carton French onion dip
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

  • I mean... right there is everything that's wrong with cooking. It reads like some 1970s  horror story. Add dip and cheese to soup. FFS. Think of the cost for a start and the inevitable salt. And the packaging you'll throw away. It makes me weep.

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