It’s about time the onion was appreciated more. It’s not just a base to a soup or stew. It’s not just something French people drape over their shoulders and cycle around with all day long. And it’s not just the thing your weird neighbour’s house smells of, even though you have never actually seen them with an onion. It is one of the most gloriously versatile vegetables around. Baked slowly in the oven it is slippery and gently aromatic; finely sliced into a tomato salad it is crunchy and clean; or chopped and simmered for hours with red wine, sugar and vinegar it makes a fantastic accompaniment to cheese or cold meat. Huzzah for the onion!
On Saturday I made an onion tart, the making of which I won’t go into right now. Right now I’m all about the onion, of which I sliced four large ones (not too thinly – you want some bite to the onion in an onion tart) and melted a large knob of butter in a heavy bottomed saute pan. I stirred in the onion, seasoned generously with salt and pepper, covered and cooked over a very low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally. When completely soft, gooey and golden the lid was removed and I added a tablespoon or so of thyme leaves (dried would be fine if that’s all you have), increased the heat and cooked uncovered for a further 15 minutes, stirring regularly.
Having made the tart there was still a little onion left. The lunch that followed was a modest, yet utterly self-indulgent feast.
You will need:
A couple of slices of good bread
A couple of tablespoons of slow-cooked onion
A good handful of mature cheddar, grated
Preheat the grill to high.
Toast the bread in the toaster. Spread some mustard over each slice, followed by a good dollop of onion, which you will spread to the edges. Add a handful of cheese and pop under the grill until lightly brown on top. Remove to a plate, add a couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce and scoff.