I feel a little guilty. I just ate a steak with a wonderful side dish, a barbecued onion topped with goat cheese and fig and honey. The recipe came from Vegetarian Grilling: 60 Recipes for a Meatless Summer by Karen Schulz and Maren Jahnke. I hope the authors don’t mind, but I do want them to know: their 60 recipes are not for vegetarians alone.
Actually, this onion with the goat cheese is so hearty that, in a different world, you could make it the main course and simply pair it with a salad. You should take a look at Vegetarian Grilling for a bounty of interesting ideas that anyone can enjoy, steak eater or not.
This dish can be made in about 30 minutes. It’s simple and its presents a combination of textures and flavors that you may not have experienced. Truthfully now, how often do you eat figs? Figs and honey? Ah, you are thinking about it aren’t you. Figs and honey and goat cheese? You have to have tried that sometime. You have to.
Okay, you haven’t. And now you can. Using the barbecued onion as the foundation for this dish is clever. That onion tang is the perfect mate for the fig and honey sweetness. And the goat cheese adds that distinctive raspy mouth feel that makes this dish seem complicated.
Actually, it is complicated which contributes to its enjoyment.
The recipe call for thyme and goat cheese. You can substitute the herb or herbs that you personally prefer. And the goat cheese gives you additional options. There is plain, “vanilla” goat cheese aplenty, and then there are the other ones. I selected a round from France glowing with herb fragments. Those additional, random herb flavors simply added to the mystery.
Barbecued Onions with Goat Cheese and Fig and Honey Topping
Yield: serves 4 people
- 2 onions, about 9 ounces each
- 2 large figs
- 3-4 thyme sprigs
- 2 teaspoons ground peppercorns, mixed colors [red, black, white]
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- Oil for brushing
- Honey for pouring over the cooked onions [at least 1 teaspoon per onion half]
Boil the unpeeled onions in salted water for about fifteen minutes. Rinse with cold water and let cool briefly. Peel the onions and cut in half.
Remove the skins from the figs with a sharp knife and finely dice the figs. Remove the thyme leaves the sprigs. Insert some thyme leaves between the onion layers. Salt the onions lightly. Mix the remaining thyme with the diced figs and one teaspoon of ground pepper. Crumble the goat cheese into the mixture, and mix to combine.
Divide the cheese mixture between the onion halves. Place each onion on a piece of oiled aluminum foil, close the foil into envelopes, and grill for about 10 minutes on high heat. Open the foil and drizzle the filling with honey and the remaining ground pepper.
Source: Vegetarian Grilling: 60 Recipes for a Meatless Summer by Karen Schulz and Maren Jahnke
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5 for 1/50th second at ISO‑3200
You may well have purchased a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. It’s a key ingredient in Mexican cuisine, and certainly a way to add zip to your guacamole.
There are both domestic and imported brands. Suzen and I are fond of that La Morena brand, although I do have a slight complaint. I don’t think the billing is appropriate. “Chipotle Peppers” is in one font and “Adobo Sauce” in a smaller one.
We find both components to be equally useful. Actually, I think we tend to favor the adobo sauce for its marvelous versatility.
Do you have some artichokes steaming away? Going to serve them with butter or mayonnaise. Take the mayo, add some adobo sauce, perhaps some lemon juice, and enjoy those artichokes as you never have.
What is adobo sauce anyway? The Spanish word “adobo” can be interpreted as marinade, sauce, or seasoning. Adobo sauce was created on the Iberian Peninsula [Spain and Portugal] where different versions are made with a combination of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar.
Variations exist around the world. For example, Mexican adobo sauce, like that in the can, are often combinations of guajillo chiles, water, garlic, vinegar, salt, sugar and cumin — a far cry from that original Iberian version. If you google, you will encounter a bounty of “personal variations” on this theme incorporating other chiles, spices such as cinnamon and clove and oregano, onion, and tomato. I think our La Morena sauce is probably quite basic and I thrive on that familiar, earthy flavor.
Here’s a simple but brilliant way to use that adobo sauce. Make Adobo Honey, a combination of sweet and heat that can be used from biscuits to aqua frescas. In fact, tomorrow’s post will feature a raspberry agua fresca with amplified flavor from lemon juice and adobo honey.
The proportions in the recipe below are based on some experimentation. The result you get will depend on the honey. This is NOT the time to use some expensive, floral honey because the adobo flavor is going to dominate. Instead, you want a good, basic, plain old honey. Good quality for sure, but with no flavor overtones. Let the adobo do the talking.
Yield: 2/3 cup
- 2/3 cup of plain honey
- 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
Warm the honey if necessary so it flows easily. A few second in the microwave will work. You need it flowing, not hot.
Add the adobo sauce and carefully mix to ensure uniformity. Taste test and, if you desire, add more fire. Just remember, you can make it hotter but you can only make it cooler by diluting with additional honey.
Source: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/60th second at ISO‑800