David Tanis‘s roots in culinary utopias from Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California to Café Escalera in Santa Fe, New Mexico and a private supper club in Paris have likely contributed to his earthy, vibrant fourth cookbook David Tanis Market Cooking.
Red Onion Soup with Cheese Toasts was the signature recipe we lovingly sampled when David visited Appetite for Books last November. Obviously a true Québécoise knows the pleasure of onion soup with melted cheese toast. Apparently the secret’s out. David’s version is vegetarian and luscious.
David spoke of his earlier cookbooks; A Platter of Figs with menus for 8-10; Heart of the Artichoke with menus for 4-6; and One Good Dish, which denies the need for a 3-course meal. Market Cooking, his 4th cookbook, is ingredient driven, vegetable focused, simple and user-friendly.
In time, I’ll branch out and wend my way through this edible cornucopia of recipes, but I want you to have the pleasure of sampling David Tanis’s Red Onion Soup with Cheese Toasts tout suite.
Red Onion Soup
- 4 – 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 lbs red onions, thinly sliced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 10 c water, including water used for deglazing pan
- 1 c dry red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 small bunch thyme, tied with string
- 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 T Cognac or other brandy (optional)
In a large pan, over medium-high heat, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, then add a large handful of onions. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until browned. Transfer to a large pot. Add a 1/2 cup of water, scrape the bottom and stir to deglaze pan, then pour deglazing liquid into the soup pot. Use a paper towel to wipe the pot clean. Repeat until all the onions are browned.
Heat the soup pot on high and add wine, bay leaves, thyme and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes.
Discard thyme. Adjust seasoning. I added a teaspoon each of maple syrup, seasoned rice vinegar and Vegeta. The soup can be refrigerated up to 2 days before serving, or it can be frozen.
Prior to serving, heat to simmer, add brandy and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim off olive oil if you wish. I didn’t and I’ve no regrets.
Ladle piping hot soup into bowls. Forget about traditional French onion soup presentation, don’t plop your cheese toast flat onto the soup! Perch it on an angle so it stays crispy, lifting it to take nibbles in between spoonfuls of delicious Red Onion Soup. Serves 10 – 12.
- 6 slices crusty day old bread, lightly toasted
- 6 oz Gruyére cheese, grated
- 1 T chopped sage
- 1 t chopped thyme
- freshly ground black pepper
To make cheese toasts, heat broiler, place toasted bread on a baking sheet, mix grated cheese with sage, thyme and a generous amount of pepper. Broil until cheese bubbles and browns slightly. Serves 6.