It is cold and rainy here today and thusly, a day of cooking seems in order! Jack headed out early to a birthday party, so after dropping him off, Oliver and I went to the market to stock up on everything we needed for homemade bread, the incredible Italian ham and cheese sandwiches I recently concocted, a beautiful fall salad of arugula/pear/goat cheese/pomegranate and the most fabulous onion panade/soup, soupe à l'oignon gratinée. We're having friends for dinner tonight, hence the magnitude of dishes to be made! Anyway, to get my energy level in place, I decided I simply must have a mushroom-tarragon-goat cheese omelette to start things off, and it did not disappoint. When I enjoy a fabulous, fluffy, golden omelette like this one, I think back over all those years I spent dedicated to its inferior yolk-free kin. What a waste. Now it's two full eggs all the way; c'est bonne.
Then we made the bread dough, and it's rising now, later to be shaped into one full loaf and many miniature rolls brushed with oil and sprinkled with salt, aka coccoli in Italia. These will be the perfect base for the prosciutto and cheese app later.
Ol and T went off to the hardware store, and I'm about to start slicing onions. I believe I've waxed rhapsodic about this soupe before but tragically have not made it since starting Em-i-lis. Today is the perfect sort of day to make this dish. It's oozy and rich and decadent and heavy and just off-the-hook good in every way. Written by Henri Babinski, aka Ali-Bab, and published in his 1907 cookbook, Gastronomie Pratique, it's the perfect marriage of French onion soup and a panade. You layer toasted and buttered baguette slices with grated Emmental (I use Gruyère because I prefer its flavor), huge amounts of softly caramelized onions and tomato purée. Then you pour boiling, salted water over the whole thing and cook until it's a bubbling, unctuous mess of goodness. Ali-Bab was an eccentric who forbade his dinner guests to speak during the meal. With a dish like this one in front of you, you're rendered nearly speechless anyway so compliance would have been a breeze. I'll post this recipe a bit later and also some pics after I finish it up this evening.