|After a long weekend feeding the souls of the adventurous ones out in the Santa Cruz Mountain AVA|
I have nibbled my share of "onion jams" from SKILLET Truck (or Airstream) to Bbq joints all over and I have been let down ,even dissapointed a bit. Overly sweet forced jams with hunks of onion either cooked to death or not near it's destiny: origin unknown with too much brown sugar no spice and sitting on the fence of blechhhh.
Time and a little care can create a celebration of the mighty allium. As complex as a wild ramp or as simple as a globe red oinion. So today I'm going to let you in on my secret, my recipe that keeps a roof over my head selling my wares to the fine folks of the Bay....Join me on a bit of a journey and isnt anything worth its value a journey?
SPRING ONION JAM
This sweet, sour, savory nuggets of lumpy love could be thought of as a Marmalade but the jam like consistancy is more my liking in terms of definition.
4 lb Pipin or Granny Smith Apples
1lb of red globe onions. gather all the papery peels and do not toss this is an important ingredient when making you stock .the color with bring a vibrancy and a color that will zingggggg
2 oranges zested and halved
2 cinnamon sticks
1T madras curry
pinch of sea salt
3C. white wine vinegar 5%
3C Turbinado sugar
OK time to get the stock pot out. halve the apples toss in the pot , cut the tops and bums from the onions and peel the papers and toss in pot. ohhhh just add everything except the sugar and skinned red onions.
Add a cup of water to the slurry and place over med high heat til all the apples are almost completly broken down. The house is going to smell exotically intoxicating with the curry ,cinnamon mingling with the apples cirtus and skins.
Strain the stock and soak in the amazing color and smells that will rise form the slop. A Chiniose works best and another pot to catch this elixir. After draining (put a weight on the slurry to get every bit of liquid and flavour this mess has to offer)
Add to stock and refridge over night, this flavour bomb needs some alone time to get to know each other and macerate the onions. DO NOT CHEAT you miss this step its all going to be in vain when your jam sucks. Sooo it's day two.
Pull out your stock pot with the happy pool of crimson onion goodness. Add your sugar and whip out the candy thermometer we are going to 220 and it's gonna take a bit so pour a bourbon and pull up a stool you are gonna be at the stove for a spell. Begin on high and let the onions start to soften in the pool of spice and onion essence. As soon as it begins to hard boil and rise lower the temp to be able to handle the lot. The added cooking time tenderizes the onions in a way only time can achieve. The photo below is the onions beginging to become translucent and you are only a third of the way done. the changes you see will clearly signify the stages of this process in the long wait to get to 220 (jelly set temp) It seems from 218-220 is a long ten minutes again do not walk away you will be let down.
After about fifteen minutes the onions take on the deep jewl tones of the stock and your house is purfumed for the rest of the day. You know you are getting closer and the liquid takes on a thicker slower bubbling roll almost like they turned to Bubble Machine soap. The slow gurgling and verge of the oinions breaking down is the sign you are almost there. 218 hovers on the thermometer for what seems a decade and then the mercury jumps to attention and pops right on the 220 mark .Count to twenty and pull the pot. Sweet JEEZUS something very special just entered your life.
Let this pup cool for about three to five minutes while you dig up your stick mixer with I hope a metal not plastic blade.(will melt trust me)Whizzz your jam just to break up the long strings of jammed onion for easier consumption. a long string of onion jam slapped on your chin after a big bite of that Buffalo buger can be a bit nasty. I like my food in my mouth not on or around it.
There you have it a complex enticing jam that is worth its time and a little effort. A jar of this in your hand when going to a weekend cook out you are sure to be the hero. This picture is of my Charcuterie and Spanish cheese plate that I served last Friday for my wine club at a local restaurant with a bright Albarino, onion jam, spicy dry Chorizo, Caper berries, Picholine olives, almonds, La Serna(washed rind triangle in the back) , Beuna Alba (cheese slivers in front)and San Simon(the batons under the chorizo). The grilled onions were a great exercize in different onion application and last a bit of my forbidden fruit marmalade. (we covered that already)
Agian if you don't wanna just call me I've got ya covered.