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Dining Tip: Open-Faced Grilled Cheese

These Époisses and caramelized onion toasts make for a simple, elegant bite that pairs well with a rich Chardonnay
Photo by: Andrew Purcell
Shallots and onion jam add a sweet and tangy touch to these cheesy toasts.

Posted: January 8, 2018

Note: This recipe originally appeared in the Sept. 30, 2016, issue of Wine Spectator, "The Cheese Issue."

Recipe courtesy of chef Michael Rafidi

Époisses Toast Gratinée

To make the French onion marmalade:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Cracked black pepper

To pickle the shallots:

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shallots, sliced into rings

To serve:

  • 1 wheel Époisses
  • 6 slices country bâtard
  • French onion marmalade
  • Pickled shallots
  • 1 bunch watercress

To make the French onion marmalade:

1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until onions are deep golden-brown. Add 1/4 cup water and stir, scraping up browned bits and incorporating them into the onions.

2. In a small pot set over medium heat, combine 1 cup caramelized onions with all other ingredients and cook, stirring often, until liquid is reduced and syrupy, about 5 minutes.

To pickle the shallots:

Combine vinegar, sugar and salt with 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then cool and pour over shallots. Let sit overnight at room temperature to pickle.

To serve:

Preheat the broiler. Place 1/6 of the Époisses on each slice of bread and set on a sheet pan. Broil until the cheese is melted and slightly burnt on top. Spoon some onion marmalade and pickled shallots onto each piece of toast, and sprinkle with the watercress. Serves 6.

Recommended wine pairings

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey St.-Aubin En Remilly 2015 (93, $75)

Etre Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2015 (91, $28)

Louis Jadot Bourgogne White 2015 (88, $18)

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