Slice several large Spanish onions into thin rounds, about six to eight cups. For purposes of elegant presentation, cross-cut works best, as rings.
In a high-quality, heavy-bottom, large, low, stainless-steel skillet, using Mazola Corn Oil (it’s cholesterol free – and I’m aware of the corn modification situation), and unsalted butter, a generous sprinkle of crushed dry thyme, a tiny bit of salt and two or three whole garlic cloves (mash them when soft; they become so very mild) – over medium heat, sweat the onions stirring gently so the mixture glazes, carefully scraping the bottom of the skillet.
Be patient, this takes awhile. Stay with the stove; adjust the heat as necessary until caramelization is complete. You don’t want brown or burnt onions.
When the onions are translucent and the white onion has caramelized in colour, stir in a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of good real maple syrup.
If you have stored fresh figs in brandy or cognac, as I have noted in other columns, mash one into the skillet mixture for a divine addition for the palette of your gourmet friends.
When onions are perfectly “just” cooked (not mushy), and the pan is still very hot, add a half cup of your favourite brandy or cognac.
Carefully flambé and burn off the alcohol. Stir gently. Add freshly grated cracked black peppercorns. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Don’t continue to stir.
Under the broiler, brown four long, split fresh baguettes, sprinkled with your best olive oil on the cut side. Don’t let them dry out. Remove when the tops turn brown.
Using a long-handled fork with long tines, or using tongs, lift out the onion rings, and mound the split baguettes generously high with the caramelized onions and serve hot; split each long baguette in half lengths, cut wide angle on the diagonal.
Each half of half will be a serving. Serve on oval plates if you have them. Looks great on a dark chocolate or black plate. Decorate with a handful of fresh parsley and a lemon wedge. It is a large bread serving, covered mounded high with the sautéed onions.
As an alternative, making this delight even richer, sprinkle grated Mozzarella cheese on top and broil to bubble, for just a few seconds, only when ready to serve.
A tankard of your favourite beer will be well received with this delicious brunch. Good all year round, I also serve this treat for Christmas Day family brunch. It doesn’t need any accompaniment.
If you want to serve this amazing treat as a main dish meal, just serve a great salad on the side. The onion presentation is very filling.
Remember, first we eat with our eyes.
For a summertime treat, go back to my barbecue sauce recipe where you will find the barbecue potatoes and onions done in tinfoil papillote. Use onions cooked this way, on barbecued baguettes, served in this manner alongside your barbecue steak.
The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking – at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen” additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.