Onion Soup and Gruyère Crostini

Onion Soup and Gruyère Crostini
Epicurious | February 2009

1 pound yellow onions, halved and thinly cut lengthwise
3 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 cup water
1 1/2-inch-thick slice of ciabatta bread cut in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss Gruyère cheese

In a heavy 5-quart pot melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until the onions are deep amber and exceedingly soft, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine, increase the heat, and let the wine bubble away for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beef stock and water, and let the soup simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to broil. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Place the ciabatta on the middle rack of the oven and toast until crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the soup and discard. Pour the soup into two ovenproof bowls, float the toasted ciabatta on top, and cover it with a thick layer of the Gruyère. Put the soup bowls under the broiler on the middle rack and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and golden.

Zucchini Frittata

Zucchini Frittata

A great Italian appetizer or brunch idea- this is as good cold as it is hot and very easy to prepare with any ingredients from the share.

2 Tbls olive oil
6-8 eggs- whisk with
1/4 c whole milk or half and half
1 med zucchini, sliced or jullienne (matchsticks)
2-3 small spring onions, sliced thin
1 med tomato, seeded and chopped- placed in a strainer to drain
2-3 Tbls chopped black olives
3-4 leaves basil,
rough chopped cheese- use goat cheese, fontina or mozz- preferably
chunks or thick slices
other options (ham, bacon or salami)

Preheat oven to 375° or use broiler. Use an 8-10-inch nonstick or well seasoned cast iron pan as this will finish in the oven, preferably under the broiler. Heat pan on med high heat and add olive oil, add onions and zucchini, saute until soft. Add tomatoes and olives, cook 1 minute, season veg with salt and pepper, pour in eggs, add basil, and cook 2-3 minutes on med, scraping and tilting the pan with a heat resistant rubber spatula, allowing the egg to run underneath each time, top with cheese. When eggs are still creamy, shake the pan and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until set- (without a broiler it may take 4-6 minutes in oven) remove from oven.

Allow to rest 5 minutes, then gently slide onto a platter- slice. I like to serve this with a freshly made aioli, or, garlic mayonnaise, which, made with Hogs Back eggs, is the best mayo you’ve eve had.

Polenta

Polenta

2 c. freshly ground coarse corn meal
7 c. water (part of this could be stock or milk too)
1 1/2 t. salt 4 T. butter
1/2 c. cheese (parm, fontina, asiago or any good melter)

A note of caution, polenta is akin to lava in how hot it gets and how it behaves, if yours is sputtering and splattering wrap your hand in a towel when you’re stirring it. Bring the liquid to a boil in a large saucepan, polenta can splatter as it cooks down so use a pan with sides at least twice as high as the level of the liquid. Add the salt, then, whisking briskly, pour in the cornmeal slowly so as to avoid lumps. Lower the heat and cook, stirring regularly, for about 35-45 minutes. The longer you cook it the more firm it will be when done. If you don’t know how long to cook it I would just shoot for 40 minutes. Add the butter and the cheese and stir well. Polenta can be served in many ways, use it as you would rice under an entrée, under a nice piece of fish, last week we had it under some beef stroganoff and it was fantastic. You can also cook it a little further and then pour it onto a greased cookie sheet, let it cool, and then slice it into squares to sauté with scrambled eggs or warm with maple syrup on it.