Definitely Not Date Food

23 Sep

It was only a matter of time before we were taught this country’s national treasure of French onion soup. But of course in France it’s simply referred to as soupe à l’oignon, although sometimes they throw gratinée on the end to make it just that much more exciting. However, to tell you the truth French onion soup isn’t really all that exciting in essence. Of course it’s delicious, but there’s not much to the original recipe, other than the fact that you’ll need an entire box of kleenex to get through a batch for 4 people. It’s really just a whole whack of onions boiled in broth and served amongst layers of grated cheese and toasted bread.  In fact, a traditional recipe calls for at least 2 onions per person (yikes)!

That being said,  if you’re ok with smelling a little funky and don’t mind having raccoon eyes from runny mascara, then soupe à l’oignon is a rather easily executed, and extremely satisfying fall or winter treat.

I won’t go too far into detail (mostly because there really isn’t any), but you basically boil thinly sliced onions in a pot with a touch of stock until they’re extremely soft and supple. While the onions are stewing away, you grate the cheese (traditionally gruyère) and toast your bread (we used baguette). Once the onions are cooked, the cheese is grated, and the bread is toasted, you layer them up in a bowl, bake it all in the oven so that the top layer of cheese is crispy, and then serve.

*Fun fact: In Paris soupe à l’oignon was traditionally sought out by post performance theatregoers. Back in the day, Parisians were known to leave the concert hall and head straight to the nearest bistro or brasserie to chow down on some onion soup as they dissected the presence and perfection of the prima ballerina or the sole wrenching aria of the principal soprano.

Although we hadn’t just been to the opera, front-row seats for a young woman doing vocal warm-ups in the adjacent apartment was good enough reason for us to gather around the table and enjoy our creation.

To accompany this hefty soup, we made a lighter dish of tender chicken filets served with a cream sauce made from fresh basil, tomato, and a generous serving of sauteed shallots and garlic, just in case you were afraid the onions weren’t doing enough to keep people outside a 3 meter radius of you.

For dessert, we got to exercise our creativity by stylizing the toppings of a collection of tartes aux fraise.

So light and delicious, it was merely minutes before these easy-to-eat little morsels had all but vanished. Too bad a whole pack of gum couldn’t do the same for our tear-evoking breath. Or was it cutting up 8 whole onions that made us all cry? Either way, the theatrical drama of the French onion soup isn’t for the faint of heart.

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2 Responses to “Definitely Not Date Food”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The French Basics « Shortt and Sweet - 10/10/2011

    […] Whether it’s a savory pie (like the Gateau de Saumon en Feuiletage) or sweet tart (like the tartes aux fraise), it’s clear that the French like they’re food wrapped in carby goodness, and I don’t blame […]

  2. Playing Cupid with Cupcakes and Other Delicious Things « Shortt and Sweet - 19/02/2012

    […] was originally going to make tartes aux fraise as seen in the post (ironically titled in this case) Definitely Not Date Food, but was forced to think fast and improvise when the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry I decided to use […]

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