Slow-Roasted Sweet Onions with "Licorice" Powder
- ACTIVE: 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 6 HR 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 12
One of Michel Bras's favorite garnishes is a sweet-savory combination of ground almonds, dehydrated olives and demerara sugar (a coarse, raw cane sugar with a subtle molasses flavor); the taste reminds him of licorice. Here it serves as a topping for buttery-soft, slow-roasted whole onions.
- 12 large sweet onions
- 1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, such as Thassos, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds, chopped
- 1/4 cup demerara sugar
- 1/4 cup poultry or veal demiglace (see Note)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as grapeseed
- 3 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Peel off the outer layers of the onions until each one is about 3 inches in diameter. Trim the root ends so the onions stand upright. Arrange the onions on a large rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake for about 4 hours, until they are partially softened.
- Remove the foil and bake the onions in the upper third of the oven for 2 hours longer, rotating them occasionally, until they are very tender and richly browned outside. If the onions start to pop out of their skins, push them back in.
- Meanwhile, spread the chopped olives on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave at high power for 12 minutes until the olives are dehydrated but still plump; transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the olives to a medium bowl and wipe out the food processor.
- Pulse the almonds in the food processor until finely ground; transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the demerara sugar. Bake in the same oven as the onions for about 6 minutes, stirring a few times, until golden and toasted. Let cool. Add the almonds to the olives and toss well.
- In a saucepan, bring the demiglace to a boil. Transfer to a blender. Add the oil and vinegar and blend well. Season with salt.
- Using a serrated knife, cut off the top fourth of each onion. Transfer the onions to plates. Spoon the vinaigrette on top and garnish with the almond-olive mixture. Serve right away.