The Man is one of those people who attacks life with complete enthusiasm, even if he has never done something before. And the other day he was determined to help cook dinner. It's not as though the Man has never been in the kitchen. Right after we met he made me an amazing breakfast of roast squash and apples with avocado and cilantro. It was truly one of my favorite meals I've ever eaten. So he can cook. And makes a point of telling me how he has made more pancakes than I have every time he walks in the kitchen on a weekend morning. But typically I'm the one wearing the apron.
So he wanted to help cook dinner. And after asking what I was making, he immediately opened the spice cabinet and started throwing things in a pan. Onions and garlic were flying, and next thing I knew there was this beautifully fragrant concoction in a cast iron on the stove. And not only was it delicious, it went perfectly with the meal I was preparing. That's how the Man rolls- he walks into a situation completely blind, and knocks it out of the park last minute. It's impressive. And okay fine, a little frustrating and perplexing to me. But very impressive.
After determining his "Ashkenazi Jam" blogworthy (the Man and his siblings recently discovered their previously unknown Jewish heritage, and have been very excited to work it in wherever possible - I retitled his recipe to make it slightly more descriptive of the food) he spent the next 15 minutes chronicling his process and determining suitable wine, beer and spirit pairings. I have made subtle edits but this recipe is his.
Note: The compote is shown above with my Garlic and Herb Chicken Thighs, spinach cake with currants and pine nuts, and ginger maple glazed carrots and parsnips. Second note: As this recipe is a recollection the Man "completely winging it" in the kitchen, he suggests that you take the measurements as a rough guide. Channel the Man, and fly by the seat of your pants.
THE MAN'S SAVORY ONION COMPOTE
- 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- a dash of red pepper flakes
- a dash of salt
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 large shallots, sliced
- 8 cloves garlic, half crushed and half diced
- extra virgin olive oil
- a splash of Saba Mosto d'Uva
- 2 tablespoons pecans, toasted
- 2 tablespoons Zante currants
- Tzatziki, if desired for serving
- Naan, if desired for serving
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine spices on a small tray and roast until toasty and fragrant. Set aside. Now your kitchen will smell good.
Heat a splash of olive oil in a large cast iron pan over medium. Add the onions, shallots, and garlic, and toast them, stirring frequently. It's okay to have some blackened edges. Add the spice mixture and stir.
Moisten the mixture with a couple more tablespoons of olive oil, and allow the onions to caramelize and simmer down. Add a splash of Saba along with the currants and stir. Part the mixture to one side of the pan and add your pecans to the empty side. Smash the nuts with a metal spatula until well crushed before stirring them in with the onions.
Serve with Tzatziki and naan, if desired.
Drink pairings: rosé wine, light Asian beer such as Singha, or Armagnac.