Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

The $1 Olive

Posted October 17, 2010

Toast with Caramelized Onions and Zucchini

Inspired by Dinette
Serves 2

Whenever I need to caramelize onions for something, I make extra.  It takes no extra effort, they keep well, and are delicious in so many things.

1 large 1-inch thick whole wheat sourdough bread
Olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. good quality balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Place the slice of bread on a baking sheet and drizzle liberally with olive oil.  Put the sheet in the oven and bake until the surface is slightly crisp, but there is still quite a bit of give when you push down on it, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the onions and a large pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to become translucent, about 10 minutes.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are very fragrant and a deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  (If have a cast iron skillet, use it.  I love how evenly and quickly the onions caramelize in mine.  You can make these up to 5 days ahead.  Once cool, cover and refrigerate.)

Heat another sauté pan over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, then add the zucchini slices and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is cooked through and browning in places, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat, then pour in the balsamic vinegar, stirring to coat the zucchini slices.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary, keeping in mind that Pecorino Romano is a salty cheese.

To assemble, lay the caramelized onions over the toasted bread, then shingle the zucchini slices on top.  Sprinkle the whole toast with the cheese and return it to the oven to melt the cheese slightly, 5 to 7 minutes.  Cut into four pieces.

Toast with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto and Artichokes
Dana Treat Original
Serves 2

You will definitely have more pesto than you need for this recipe and might have more artichoke purée than you need – both of which are wonderful problems to have.

1 large 1-inch thick whole wheat sourdough bread
1 large shallot, diced
4 baby artichokes
1 lemon
½ cup of white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto (recipe follows)
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

Make the pesto.  Prepare the bread as described in the recipe above.

Fill a small bowl with cold water.  Trim off the top ¼ of the artichokes.  Tear off and discard most of the outer leaves.  Trim the base and stem so that they are flush with the leaves and then slice each heart in half.  Since they are babies, there is no choke to remove.  Place the halves in the lemon water and repeat with the remaining artichokes.

Heat a sauté pan with a lid over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom, and add the shallots and a pinch of salt.  Cook until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes, then add the artichoke hearts.  Give them a good stir then pour in the wine.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover the pan.  Cook until the hearts are fork tender, about 7 minutes, adding more wine if the pan becomes too dry.  On the other hand, if there is a lot of liquid left after the hearts are tender, remove the lid and continue cooking until most of the wine has evaporated.  You don’t want them bone dry.

Scrape the mixture into a food processor, add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and pulse about 7 times, just enough to create a speadable consistency, but not too uniform.  Chunks are fine.  If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit of olive oil.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

To assemble, spread a generous portion of Roasted Red Pepper Pesto over the surface of the toast.  Dollop a 1-inch thick line of the artichokes down the center width-wise.  Sprinkle the whole toast with fresh thyme and cut into four pieces.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Makes about 1 cup

1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, well drained
½ cup walnuts
1 large garlic clove, chopped
¼ tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (you can also use Parmesan)

Place the peppers, walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Pulse the mixture until chopped.  With the machine running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the mixture is fairly uniform but with some small chunks.  Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cheese by hand.

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