The time has come for another Progressive Party. Progressive Parties, in case you are wondering, are a wonderful way for bloggers to get involved with companies or sponsors to showcase their creative side in coming up with unique recipes. Six bloggers taking a stab at one ingredient in six different courses, sounds like fun, right? The parties are the brainchild of Casey and are hosted over at Kitchen Play where you can find all the info and can check out today's and previous parties.
Many of you might remember my previous involvement last November when I created the "Bloody Olivia". Imagine my excitement when I was chosen again. This month the "mystery" ingredient happens to be spring onions or sweet onions and is sponsored by the National Onion Association. When I first received the assignment and it said spring onions, I was actually a little puzzled and wasn't quite sure what they were. Thankfully with some research on the association's great website, I was ready to get in the kitchen and start creating. Spring onions are also called sweet onions and are typically available from March through August. They tend to have a much lighter, thinner papery skin and are sweeter than storage or fall onions. Their moisture content is also higher and with that, they are actually more susceptible to bruising. Some common trade-names that you all might be familiar with are Walla Walla Sweets, Maui Sweets and the ever popular Vidalia Onions just to name a few.
For this progressive party I was assigned the appetizer course and decided to go with Walla Walla Sweets for my dish. I was still able to find them at my grocery store in the fall, which is when I was assigned with this party. Unfortunately this particular kind won't be available again until the June time frame, but there are many other options that will work just as well, like Vidalias. Just head on over to the National Onion Associations' website to see what's available. Coming up with a recipe wasn't quite as easy as one might think. I use onions on a daily basis in my cooking at home and we are typically a family of onion lovers. However, I wanted to make sure to create a dish that showcased the onions' sweet taste, but was also light and "spring like" tasting. My first instinct was to go with bruschetta which I love serving as an appetizer as you can really transform them to fit any season or occasion.
I played around with a few different applications for the onions, but finally decided that making an onion jam would highlight this great ingredient best. Typically, onion jam is made with dark balsamic vinegar, but in order to keep my jam light tasting, I decided to use white balsamic instead. That, along with light brown sugar and white wine, made for a great start. Some seasonings, fresh thyme and just a bit of apricot jam added the finishing touch. The onion jam turned out beautiful, with just the right amount of sweet to tart ratio.
After taste testing several bruschetta combinations (I know, being a food blogger is rough), I decided to create a bruschetta that would satisfy all of my senses. I had in my mind that the bruschetta should be sweet, but also creamy, crunchy and salty. I found the latter three components by simply putting the onion jam together with crunchy, toasted baguette slices, creamy and slightly tart goat cheese and last but not least, salty slices of prosciutto. Topped with the spring onion jam, this appetizer turned out even better than I had dreamed.
This is really an amazing appetizer and I'm incredibly proud of this creation. I've served this already several times to friends and the reaction is always overwhelmingly positive. On a side note, while the jam is spectacular in the showcased combination, it is also fantastic in many other applications. Think of it as a tasty condiment which can perk up a vast array of dishes.
If at this point my recipe has made your mouth water, go ahead, make the spring onion jam bruschetta, blog about them and submit your link to Kitchen Play. By doing so, you will have a chance to win $100.You have until April 30th, 2011 to enter, so don't wait, I know all of you could use a little extra money with vacation time approaching!
Spring Onion Jam Bruschetta
A Susi's Kochen und Backen Original
18 1/2 -inch thick diagonally cut baguette slices
18 tablespoons soft goat cheese
9 thin prosciutto slices, cut in half crosswise
Spring Onion Jam (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange bread slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush top of each with olive oil and roast bread until top is golden 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool toasts on sheet.
Spread 1 tablespoon goat cheese on each cooled toast. Arrange prosciutto halves on top of the goat cheese and top each toast with spring onion jam. Arrange on platter and serve.
Spring Onion Jam
A Susi's Kochen und Backen Original
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large spring onions (I used Walla Walla Onions), sliced thinly
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup white wine (Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio works well)
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
Kosher Salt and black pepper to taste
Melt butter and oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add the sugar, wine, balsamic vinegar, apricot jam, thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring, until the liquid thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 35 minutes.
Transfer the onion jam to a bowl and let cool. Serve at room temperature.