This dish is for those of you out there that love onions. I cooked for motivational speaker
and his wife the other night and they had a few dietary restrictions, so I thought that a vegetarian first course was a safe way to go. It is always hard cooking for people you have never met and that have dietary restrictions . You have no idea what people like and don't like. I just hoped that they liked onions because some people love them and others can't stand them. I had leeks, shallots, yellow sweet onions and green onions on hand. I thought of taking each onion and preparing them in different ways to create different textures and flavors. I can tell you that the end result was absolutely amazing! Mrs. Robbins told me about 5 times how amazing this dish was and couldn't wait for the next dish. That made me feel really good about the decision to serve all onions for the first dish but meant I had to keep the momentum going for the next two courses. Recipe as follows
3 medium fat leeks with long stalks.
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 cup of buerre monte (water and butter 1 tbsp of water and 1 and 1/2 stick of butter sliced)
salt and pepper
1 tbsp of olive oil
1/4 cup of good balsamic
1 cup of all purpose flour
3 tbsp of old bay seasoning
2 cups of grapeseed oil for frying
3 yellow onions cut in half and peeled
hickory, cherry, apple wood chips ( or your favorite)
2 tbsp of butter
3 tbsp of olive oil
Frisee tossed with olive oil and lemon
Basil oil for garnish
For Yellow Onions,
For the onions I cut them in half and place them in a
with the wood chips on the bottom and the onions on top. If you don't have one simple take a half hotel pan and place wood chips in the bottom of the pan. Place a half hotel perforated pan on top with the onions inside and place a lid or foil to seal the pan. Turn the heat on and let the onions smoke for about 4 minutes on high heat. Turn the heat off and let them sit inside the stove top smoker for another 15 minutes. Then take the onions out and slice them thin.
In a large saute pan on medium high heat add olive oil, butter, and thinly sliced smoked onions. Saute or caramelize the onions for about 25 to 30 minutes. You will need to turn the heat down to a lower temperature after about 10 minutes or so. Try to stir often so that the onions don't burn. When the onions have caramelized to a nice brown color, season with salt and a touch of pepper. Then transfer the onions to food processor and puree until smooth. Adjust the seasoning if needed and set aside and keep warm.
For the leeks,
Cut the leeks about 1/2 inch thick and rinse them well. If there is a lot of dirt in between the leeks try your best to not break the leeks up and rinse the dirt out. You can soak them for in salted ice water for 15 minutes and this can also help get the dirt out. Once the leeks are rinsed, place a pot of water on the stove and add some salt. Bring the water to a boil and then place the leeks inside and turn down just a little to a strong simmer. Set a timer for 5 minutes. While they are cooking grab a bowl of ice water to shock or stop the cooking process when the leeks are done. When the five minutes are up using a strainer or skimmer strain scoop the leeks out of the pot and place into the ice water bath. Let them cool completely and then strain off the water. Place on a paper towel until ready to use.
For Buerre Monte,
Buerre Monte is a great tool to finish any dish. It is basically melted solid butter. What you do is take a small pan and place a tbsp of water inside. Bring the water to a very light simmer. Then take your sliced butter and whisk it into your water to make a "butter sauce". This can be then kept for that day only. This butter is great to finish vegetables, proteins and any other thing you can think of. It holds together very well and can with stand some heat but it is great to glaze anything. Think of it as a butter glaze that holds together. Once made just set aside until ready to use.
For the shallots
Preheat oven to 400
Take 6 shallots and cut in half. Place shallots in a small saute pan that is oven proof and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the shallots in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Toss the shallots every 5 minutes so that they cook evenly. After about 15 minutes they should be start to be tender and starting to caramelize a little. Here is where you add the balsamic to the pan and then place back in the oven. Cook for another 15 minutes until the leeks are tender and the balsamic is just about gone. Take out and set aside.
For the fried shallots,
Preheat 2 cups of oil in a pot for frying
Take 3 shallots and slice them whole, paper thin on a mandolin. Toss flour and old bay seasoning together in a bowl. Place the shallots into the four and dust well. Shake off the excess flour and fry the shallots until golden brown in small batches. Season with salt as soon as you take them out of the fryer. Set aside until ready to use.
Take a saute pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat. Season the leeks with salt and pepper ( you can call them scallops if you want) and place them in the pan. Cook the leeks on the first side for about 3 to 4 minutes until you get a golden brown sear. Flip over and cook for another 2 minutes and then turn off the pan. Take your buerre monte and spoon all over the leeks very generously. Take a spoonful of the smoked onion puree and place in the middle of the plate. Place 5 leeks around the puree. Take 3 halved roasted balsamic shallots and place around the puree. Place fried shallots on top of puree. Drizzle basil oil all around the leeks. Place chopped tossed frisee around the plate. I forgot the green onions but you could simply slice for a garnish as well. Serve and enjoy "Onions"