Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Best French Onion Soup

With the recent dip in temperatures from mid-90's to 40 degree nights, this has been on my mind big time! It is so simple, and amazingly delicious! Cooking the onions slowly over a low heat is a huge struggle for both my husband and I, since we tend to be more, high-heat, quick sear-type people, but this payoff is well worth the wait.

French Onion Soup
(makes 2 servings)

1 pound sweet yellow onions, thinly cut into 1/2 moons
3-5 springs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon AP flour
1/2 white wine
2 cups low sodium beef stock
1 cup water
2 1 1/2 inch thick slices of ciabatta bread
(your favorite crusty bread would work perfect)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Add the olive oil and butter to a large pot and place over low heat. Add onions, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook (stirring occasionally) until the onions are deep brown and amazingly soft. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, and increase heat, letting the wine bubble for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and water, and let the soup simmer for 20-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, heat the broiler and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Place the bread slices in the middle of the rack and broil, flipping once, until browned on both sides. Remove bay leaf from the soup and ladle into two (broiler safe!) bowls. Top each bowl with a toast and cover generously with cheese. Broil the soup 2-3 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately!

Tuna Carpaccio

For those of you who are squeamish about raw fish, you should probably skip this post. Recently my husband found this recipe while killing time on (which takes up far too much of our time), and recreated it with his own take. The result was an amazingly simple carpaccio with just the right balance of salty and tangy.

alic;">Tuna Carpaccio
(adapted from

4 oz. fresh sushi-grade tuna small bunch watercress
2 oz. fresh parmesean cheese for grating
1 small bunch chives (or scallions)
4 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar (use the good stuff...a little goes a long way)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cut the tuna into about 1-inch squares. Place each square between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap, and flatten with a meat mallet or small fying pan until very thin. Arrange the pieces on a plate, slightly overlapping. Drizzle with half of the oil and vinegar and sprinkle evenly with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

In a small bowl, combine watercress (arugula would work well too) with remaining oil and vinegar. Toss to combine. Place the watercress salad on top of the tuna in the middle of the plate. Top with shaved parmesean cheese and finish with the diced chives.

Serve alone or with little toasts, crackers - just about anything!