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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Five Allium Relish (or Super Caramelized Onions)

I debated whether to use the word "allium" in the title or "onion"...botanical/culinary accuracy vs. recognizability...and dithered long enough to use both.  Allium is a class of plants that includes ornamental forms, as well as edible forms, including onions, chives, scallions, shallots, garlic and leeks.  This recipe calls for several forms of edible allium (plural: allia); I have given suggested quantities and varieties, but really you could use whatever you wanted as long as you come up with 3-4 cups of sliced raw onion-like stuff.

So what to do with it?  Make it ahead and elevate plain, simple dishes to new levels of menu planning.  "Whatever's quickest" for dinner can sometimes be a little blah, and having a container of this relish in the fridge will keep quick-but-blah at bay.  Use it to top plain jane burgers or plain baked chicken breasts.  Put it on top of grilled pork chops or club sandwiches.  Make some before Thanksgiving to dress up leftover turkey sandwiches, or use it in my all-time favorite holiday leftover meal...cranberry sauce and caramelized onions on a toasted English muffins...glorious!

Five Allium Relish
Makes 1 cup

1/4 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly
6 shallots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 leek, dark green parts trimmed, rinsed well and sliced cross-wise thinly
1 bunch scallions, white and light parts sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp red chili flake
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup marsala or sherry or white wine or vermouth
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper

Saute all onions, leek, garlic, etc. in olive oil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until golden.  Add sugar, chili flake, salt and cook another 5-10 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium, add wine and cook until liquid has nearly cooked away, about 10 minutes.  Add thyme and pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature. Pin It

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