I had charred onions on my mind tonight. Reading about the charred onion dip from Lottie + Doof, I remembered how much I love grilled scallions when we’re grilling on the BBQ, and then I remembered the roasted red onions that we used to do at Acquerello. Onions are the chameleons of the food world. Not only are there tons of options, but they can be turned into pretty much whatever you want them to be. So tonight with our skirt steaks (yes, we actually had meat for dinner tonight!!), I made this charred onion relish. It was so good. The onions were fully cooked and sweet, but had a little crunch to them, the chard brought a little heat, and a splash of sherry vinegar pulled it all together. And I wish you could’ve had a whiff of those onions as they were cooking. I walked out to the garden to pick a few herbs, and when I came back inside….mmmmm…..I melted.
Charred Onion Relish
I put a cast iron pan on the stove over medium-low heat. As it was heating, I peeled one yellow onion, sliced it across the horizon into 1/2-inch rounds, and salted it. Meanwhile, I took some leftover red chard from the fridge, reheated it, and chopped it lightly. (The chard had been stewed down with garlic, a chili pod, water, and salt.) When the pan was hot, I drizzled in a thin coating of pure olive oil (extra-virgin will burn too easily), swirled it around, and layed my onion rounds down in it. I adjusted the heat so that they would get really nice and caramelized (not burned) on each side. I flipped them when they were nice and dark. By the time both sides were colored, the onions had cooked through. And cooking them this way, you can actually see how far it’s cooked. You’ll see the translucent line of cooked onion against the opaque line of raw onion. If your onion is charring before it’s fully cooked, just turn the heat down and allow it to keep going. When they were done, I set them on a plate to cool. When cool, I chopped them into 1/4-inch pieces and tossed it into a bowl with the chard, a pinch of chopped marjoram and savory, a teaspoon or two of sherry vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil. I have to admit that I actually licked the bowl clean. Sorry.