By Crystal Smith
July 2, 2012. I love having company and I really love having people over for dinner. A little while back I was informed at 8:30 p.m. that two of our friends would be joining us for dinner an hour and a half later. (Yes, they eat late here in Buenos Aires.) I had just worked out, hadn’t had a shower yet and the cabinets and fridge were a bit bare. I can easily throw things together out of nothing for the two of us, but I like to put a little extra effort into dinner for guests.
I did a survey of the kitchen and then a quick internet search. I found “20 killer vegetarian appetizers” on the YumSugar website. Most of them either required ingredients I didn’t have on hand or a bit more time than I had. Remember, I still had to shower. Then, I found this onion jam and goat cheese crostini recipe and I just happened to have enough onions.
After slicing the onions and getting them started, I hopped in the shower and Kevin ran to the store for a few last minute things. I showered in record time, threw on my clothes and a bit of mascara. We were having company after all. (Ladies, I do recommend putting on mascara after slicing the onions as I shed more than a few tears.) I finished up the onion jam just as the guests arrived. The rest of the meal was so simple it almost made itself. We had pasta with a homemade tomato sauce, plenty of parmesan cheese, a green salad and crusty bread.
My theory for a casual dinner party is to keep it simple, everything should taste great, but at least one thing should be special or interesting. This time the star was the onion jam. We slathered it on crunchy little toasts and topped it with cheese or the other way around, it was a hit.
Not only is it simple and fast, but it can be made ahead of time which is the sign of a perfect party food. When your guests arrive all you have to do is put it in a bowl and set out some cheese and crostini. After all, you should enjoy your party too.
What’s your go-to recipe for entertaining?
The original recipe can be found here.
Onion Jam with Goat Cheese Crostini
You can substitute two shallots for one of the onions. I use red wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar, but both would be fine.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 small to medium onions
Lemons zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 baguette thinly sliced
a selection of cheeses including goat and blue cheese
Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook over low heat, stirring often. Cook for 10 minutes or until they begin to soften.
Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 45 minutes or until the majority of the liquid has evaporated.
Let the jam cool for 20 minutes before serving. You can also make the jam ahead and refrigerate it until you are ready to eat.