You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Cooks Illustrated’ tag.

It’s a great big, fun week here on heirloomed, with two very special new additions to the Heirloom Recipe Series!

I have been just bursting to share the delights of  Merrill Stubbs, part one of the dynamic duo behind fabulous foodie site, food52. {note: Amanda joins us tomorrow too – be sure to stop back!}  Merrill, who grew up in a home fortunate enough to have a mother for an amazing cook, has quite an extensive love affair with food. Along with her work on  The Essential New York Times Cookbook, she has also had stints at such amazing publications as Cooks Illustrated and Herb Quarterly (and you know how I adore herbs …).

Here with us today is Merrill, graciously sharing one of her very own family recipes from who else but her mother of course, adding to the collection that is the Heirloom Recipe Series!

—————-

For years now, on the day before Thanksgiving my mother has made what my family refers to as “Tuscan Onion Goo” (slightly off putting, I know, so please don’t go by the name alone). Inspired by a visit to a family-owned trattoria in Florence called Ristorante del Fagioli, this sour-sweet onion confit was originally served to my mother as an antipasto. She enjoyed it so much that she asked, in halting but enthusiastic Italian, if the waiter would tell her how it was made. He promptly ushered her into the tiny kitchen, where the sweaty, grinning chef showed her how to put together the dish. She took mental notes and then came home and recreated it, with a few small adaptations.

The recipe has since become one of my mother’s signatures, and Thanksgiving would simply not be the same without “Tuscan Onion Goo.” It’s a great addition — or alternative — to cranberry sauce. While the flavors are very different, it serves a similar role: the sweetness provides a counterpoint to other, more savory sides, and the acid in the vinegar cuts through some of the richness that often pervades the meal.

The confit couldn’t be easier to make, although it does require a bit of a time commitment. You can use frozen pearl onions, but it’s worth trying with fresh cippollini. My mother insists that you have to be crazy to make it with anything other than frozen onions after the first time, but I find peeling cippollini somewhat cathartic. The confit keeps very well in the fridge, and it doesn’t have to be limited to turkey, or to Thanksgiving; it’s great with beef, pork and lamb as well.

Tuscan Onion Confit

Makes about 3 cups

1/4 cup pine nuts
12 ounces small cipollini onions or one 10-ounce bag of frozen pearl onions, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup medium sherry
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup raisins
Salt

1. Using a small frying pan, lightly toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes, shaking the pan back and forth to keep them from scorching. Set aside.

2. Peel the onions — either by blanching them first in boiling, salted water for about 30 seconds and then using a sharp paring knife to strip away the skins, or by simply going at the raw onions with the aforementioned paring knife. (Personally, I find blanching a waste of time here and prefer to just have at it.)

3. Put the olive oil in large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook gently (without browning) for about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until mostly reduced. Add 3/4 cup water, vinegar, sugar, raisins, pine nuts and a pinch of salt. Stir well. Simmer the mixture over the lowest heat possible for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so. You may need to add more water from time to time if the mixture gets too thick and gooey or starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. It is finished when everything has caramelized well, and the flavors have blended together (you can take it as far as you’d like—I for one prefer a deep amber color).

4. Cool and serve at room temperature. Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

—————-

Be sure to connect with Merrill on Twitter, and with food52 on Twitter and Facebook too!

Part of our Heirloom Recipe Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.

Join 118 other subscribers

Categories

Disclosure

heirloomed Blog may contain paid advertisements, sponsored posts and/or affiliate links at times. I will disclose when a post is sponsored and if a brand has provided product as a gift by marking it {c/o} within the post. These opportunities will allow me to do even more of what I love here on the blog. I will only post about things I truly love and enjoy, and appreciate the opportunity to share these things with you.