Fresh Sage has a nice earthy aroma to it, which gets enhanced when you add it to your cooking. Unlike Thyme, Sage has a less bolder flavor, which makes it perfect for this Onion Soup recipe, which combines onions, sage, butter, balsamic vinegar and garlic to create a heart-warming flavor in a bowl of soup. The recipe below comes from Patricia via the Technicolor Kitchen, who in turn adapted it from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook Jamie at Home. What I like about this recipe is that it is really simple to execute and there’s hardly a chance to go wrong. Plus, the Cheese Toast that the soup is served with is like a feather in the cap – scores really high points for you when you serve it to your guests. It not only looks pretty, but the taste and flavor that is brought to life by cooking the onions and herbs over low flame is truly amazing.
If you like French Onion Soup that is served at most cafes and restaurants, you will love this low-calorie option. Using Sage is highly recommended, but if you can’t find it, you can substitute with other Italian herbs like Rosemary or Thyme. And make sure to be patient while caramelizing the onions – this slow-roasting process, combined with the balsamic vinegar is what gives the soup its lovely brown color. And if you are not in mood for Cheese Toast, just add a generous serving of shredded Parmesan cheese directly to the soup before serving, and you’ll have an equally competitive counterpart recipe!
Onion Soup served with Cheese Toast
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
6 large onions, halved lengthwise then thinly sliced in half-moons
salt – to taste
15 sage leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 liter vegetable stock or water
4 slices sturdy French bread (ciabatta, sourdough, etc.)
unsalted butter, to taste
1 cup fontina, cheddar or gruyère cheese, grated
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Take a saucepan that’s deep and wide, to stir the onions.
Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the onions with a little salt and the sage leaves and cook for 7 minutes, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for 25 minutes or until onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until the vinegar has evaporated. Pour in the vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly butter each bread slice and place onto a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, spread the cheese over the bread slices and bake for another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls, top each with a slice of cheesy toast and serve.
This is a wonderful soup to serve on chilly winter days, or even cool summer evenings when you need something comforting for your soul. Personally, I like Mozzarella or Cheddar cheese on my toast – I think Gruyere becomes too salty/bittery all by itself. But if you like aged cheese, then by all means, go for it.