This year, for our Christmas Eve gathering, I am making dishes that I have never made before. I decided to do that after I bought 4 brand new cookbooks this past October.
As someone who has several cookbooks on her bedside, I was so inspired that I thought it is about time to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. And I am so glad that I did that, because lately I have been cooking up a storm from my new cookbooks and cannot wait to share them with you.
One of those books is Ottolenghi’s brand new vegetarian cookbook, Plenty More. So far, I have made 4 dishes from it, and they were all SO delicious. I think he is one of the most creative chefs out there, who is very good at creating magical flavors with everyday ingredients that can easily be found, even on a small island in the Caribbean. This Roasted Red Onion with Walnut Salsa is no different. And yes, you heard it right; it is walnut salsa.
Quite frankly, it was that wording, “walnut salsa”, that caught my attention and made me want to try this recipe at the first place. However, I think the star of this recipe is the roasted red onion slices. Roasting them in a fairly high temperature (425 F degrees) brings out their sweetness, which pairs so well with a simple salsa made with walnuts, garlic, red chili pepper, and red wine vinegar.
The addition of crumbled goat cheese balances out the acidity of the salsa and pairs so well with the sweetness of the onions. Though I can easily eat the roasted onion slices topped of with the walnut salsa, placing them on a bed of arugula and red and green lettuce takes it to another level, which also makes it a meal-worthy salad.
I served it with a glass of pinot noir for lunch, but this delicious salad would be a perfect appetizer for any dinner party.
On a final note, I will be taking the rest of year off to relax and be with my family and friends. I hope you’ll get a chance to do the same. I wish you and your family a joyous holiday season and a happy new year.
Thank you for all your support. I will see you in 2015.
Roasted Red Onions with Walnut Salsa
- 5 medium 1 1/2 pounds red onions, each peeled and cut crosswise into 3 slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups green and red leaf lettuce or baby gem lettuce, washed and spin dried
- 1 cup arugula washed and spin dried
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley washed and chopped
- 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled
- salt and black pepper
For the salsa:
- 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 1 red chile seeded and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoons walnut or olive oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Place the red onion slices on a baking sheet. Brush each side with olive oil. Season them with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
- Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the onions are cooked and browned on top. At the end of 40 minutes, if they are not browned, turn the broiler on and let them broil for 1 to 2 minutes (make sure to keep an eye on them as they can burn easily).
- Meanwhile, make the walnut salsa by mixing all salsa ingredients in a bowl. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste for seasoning and add if necessary.
- To assemble: Mix together the lettuce, parsley, and arugula in a bowl. Add 1/2 of the salsa and mix.
- Put it on a large shallow plate. Gently distribute the roasted onions on top of the greens. Top each onion with the rest of the salsa.
- To finish it, sprinkle the salad with crumbled goat cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
Recipe adapted (with minor changes) from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty More.