Onion jam and goat cheese toasts

April 15, 2009

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Serves 8

Spring onions have long green shoots with white bulbs, like scallions on steroids. The flavor is fresher than ordinary yellow onions. The spring bulbs (below) are in markets right now, as are sweet onions, which don't have the sharp edge of regular onions. Sweet onions are marketed under several names, including Vidalia, OSO Sweet, Walla Walla, and others. Use the bulb or sweet onions in this light condiment that's a far cry from the dark, caramelized versions of wintertime. It pairs well with roast chicken, pork, or grilled salmon. Set a spoonful beside a brunch plate of whole-wheat toast and smoked salmon, or make onion jam and goat cheese appetizers for a wedding shower. Slice sweet onions as you would any other onion - for this dish, that should be very thin. But don't worry about exact size; all the slices will cook down into a delectable jammy spread. Larger cuts will add texture to the mix.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
9 bulb spring onions or 4 sweet onions, very thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 baguette, thinly sliced
1 round or log (5 to 6 ounces) fresh creamy goat cheese, at room temperature
1. In a medium skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions and plenty of salt. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the onions start to soften.

2. Add the lemon rind and juice, sugar, and vinegar. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring often, for 45 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

3. Meanwhile, toast the bread until golden. Spread each round with goat cheese.

4. Taste the onion mixture for seasoning and add pepper and more salt, if you like. Let the onion mixture sit for 20 minutes or until it is no longer very hot. Spoon some onto each of the toasts and sprinkle with more pepper.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick