In the summer it is a real treat to go grocery shopping. The produce department is literally bursting with colour. Pick up a ripe peach and feel its fuzz. There is a sweet syrupy smell that comes from fresh fruit that needs only a gentle squeeze and its perfume is released.
The meals of summer almost cook themselves. A quick scrub, a drip of olive oil, some fresh herbs and the ingredients extend the invite.
Everyone’s outside enjoying the warm weather, but I can think of no other place I’d rather be than cooking in my summer kitchen with the late afternoon light streaming in.
There is one something I prepare all year round, but when I’m in one of these summer moods, it is positively transcendent.
First take the sweet, sharp local onions that are fresh from the field. Peel, slice and then caramelize their goodness and experience the sublime. Guaranteed whoever comes into the house makes a beeline for the kitchen and asks what smells so good? Its so incredible its worth the crying.
I try and make a BIG batch to last a couple of weeks, but inevitably they get finished on our Shabbos challa where their smooth, sweet tanginess is one of our best spreads. It’s like an onion jam.
It takes 45 minutes for onions to caramelize, but once you make them properly, there is no turning back.
Take 5 pounds of onions, peel, cut in half from shoot to root, turn on its flat surface and horizontally, slice thinly. Try and breath through your mouth and don’t worry about the tears. It’s cathartic.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a very large wide soup pot. Don’t let the oil get too hot or the bottom layer of onions will burn, not brown.
Add all your lovely sliced onions and leave them alone. Resist the urge to stir. Let them be. They know what they are doing and if undisturbed, their sugars will gently brown and soften as they cook. After about 20 minutes add 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper and 2 Tablespoons of sugar. Fold the seasonings in and move the top layer of onions to the bottom of the pan. Continue to stir half heartedly until the onions are consistently cooked.
Once cooled, the onions can be transferred into glass jars and will keep refrigerated for a few weeks. If they last that long.
Join us on Sunday August 26th for our class; Preparing your Rosh Hashana Kitchen. You’ll learn several recipes (gravlax, sweet and sour salmon with caramelized onions, soups, make ahead vegetable strudel and several more) including many that will carry you through the whole yomtov. http://cor.ca/view/369/preparing_my_rosh_hashanah_kitchen.html will give you all the details you’ll need to join in.