A long-ish time ago my mom and I took a cooking class at Central Market (the best grocery store/produce market ever). We got to watch some chefs make several dishes, with big mirrors above them so we could see what was going on over the stoves and on the cutting boards. One of the chefs, I recall very well, made this incredible caramelized red onion jam, which he piled onto toasted, melty caprese sandwiches.
I’ve been wanting to recreate this sandwich for, oh, just about the last five years.
I had a friend over last Friday, and for whatever reason, Friday seemed like the perfect day to make these sandwiches. And indeed, it was the perfect day. The onions were out-of-this-world amazing, the tomatoes ripe and fragrant, the sourdough – well, I bought it at Teller – and if you’re in Jerusalem, you know that means it was good. Plus my friend, who is Spanish, told me that these sandwiches were just like tapas, and I literally had to tell her the recipe for the onions on the spot after she tried them.
You can always get on my good side by complimenting my food.
Just make the sandwiches already. (P.S. I served them with a mega chopped salad with green olives).
Caprese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onion Jam
Caramelized Onion Jam
adapted a tiny bit from Shutterbean
-4 very large onions
-3 tbsp. oil – Something like olive or a nut oil; many kinds would work, but I wouldn’t use peanut or vegetable.
-1 tbsp. butter
-1/2 c. water
-3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
-2 tbsp. brown sugar
Slice your onions into rings that are about one quarter inch-thick. Put them in a large heavy-bottomed pan, and heat them over a medium flame. Add the oil and butter, and stir to evenly distribute the fats. Cover the pot, and let the onions begin to cook down until wilted and translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. If the onions start to burn, slightly reduce the flame, and add a little more oil or butter.
Remove the lid, and add the water, vinegar, and sugar. Stir well. Now let those onions begin to caramelize, uncovered. Stir every 3-4 minutes. Cook, cook, cook, and reduce the flame and/or add oil if there’s any burning. About 30 minutes later, you should have beautifully caramelized onions. If the onions are not soft enough, you can cook them covered for a few minutes. Salt to taste, and try very hard not to eat the whole thing before you make the sandwich!
Let cool. Store in the fridge.
makes one open-faced sandwich, increase as necessary
-1 thick slice of good bread – Whatever kind you like but should be sturdy
-2 slices of fresh white cheese – Fresh mozzarella is traditional, but I used tzafatit cheese (if you’re in Israel). Queso fresco or feta would be lovely.
-scoop of onion jam
-firm and ripe tomato
Heat a skillet over a medium flame. Add a pat of butter, and distribute it over the skillet. Toast one side of the bread in butter. Once toasted, flip the bread, and begin to toast the other side. At this point, put a couple of slices of fresh white cheese on the bread. After the second side of the bread has finished toasting, remove the sandwich to a plate.
Add a scoop of onion jam on top of the cheese. Add some tomato slices on the jam, and top with basil leaves, as many as you want. Serve with a fork, some red wine, and olives.