Slow-cooked, caramelized onions could make soggy cardboard taste yummy, but in a grilled sandwich with tart apples and sharp cheese, the combo is ethereal. This recipe is slightly adapted from one created by Anne Roesler of Madison, Wisconsin. She entered it in the city’s Food for Thought Recipe Contest (sponsored by REAP Food Group) several years ago and won a prize for her efforts. The recipe is so good it also made it into the 2012 Wisconsin Local Foods Journal (written by Joan Peterson and Terese Allen).
1. First caramelize the onions: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low flame. Add sliced onions and desired herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and very sweet. This will take 40-50 minutes, and they should then be reduced to about a quarter of the amount you started with. Putting a lid on the skillet, but keeping it slightly ajar, keeps the onions from drying out too much. When onions are done, remove herb sprigs and season onions with salt and pepper to taste.
2. To assemble the sandwiches, butter both sides of bread slices. Spread a couple tablespoons of onions on unbuttered side of half the bread. Arrange a few slices of apple on onions. Cover with cheese slices. Then put the other slice of bread on top with buttered side facing out.
3. To cook: Heat a griddle, skillet or panini maker to medium-high heat. Cook sandwiches on both sides until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.
From the 2012 Wisconsin Local Foods Journal, by Joan Peterson and Terese Allen (Ginkgo Press, 2011)
Copyright by Terese Allen