Mountain Cheese Bruschetta With Red Wine Onions

{A Christmas Dinner Starter}

I have a friend who works for a wine company, and last year someone there asked her whether I’d be interested in a wine & blogging cooperation. I would create a Christmas menu on my German blog, and they’d supply the wine to go with it. My idea was to actually cook with the wine, which they liked.

They’d put my posts on their FB page, and I would link to the respective wines on their website. This cooperation neither brought traffic from their FB page to my site nor did the wine links bring them any traffic, so with regards to that it couldn’t be called successful.

However, I had tremendous fun creating the recipes and loved how they turned out. I invited my friends for an after-Xmas Dinner in January and recreated the whole menu.

With Christmas less than four weeks away, I decided to share these recipes with you, because I feel they deserve better than being confined to my German blog, probably never to be read again. The pictures here are re-used from my original German post.

I hope you’ll find some joy with these recipes – a starter, a main course, and a dessert, the latter two to follow in the coming weeks.

Red Wine Onions 01

A note on the wine and cheese: I prefer Italian wines to German ones, but I quite liked the one I received for this recipe. You can make this with the wine of your choice but make sure that the cheese you chose goes with it. I didn’t want to munch my way through everything available at the cheese counter and quite accidentally found a red wine cheese in the cooler section, so that’s what I chose and it fit the wine perfectly.

What I liked about my creation was that it can be served according to your personal idea of how a Christmas starter should be served: you can make it look rustic served on a wooden board, or more refined with fine flatware and silver cutlery. Or, of course, a combination of both.

Red Wine Onions 02

Mountain Cheese Bruschetta With Red Wine Onions

2 sweet onions
2 – 3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp raw cane sugar
4 tsp muscavado sugar
100 ml red wine
1 tbsp mild balsamic vinegar
freshly ground salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 day old ciabatta or rustic bread
mild mountain cheese or red wine cheese
butter with sea salt crystals

Note: The red wine onions can be made a couple of days ahead and kept in sealed preserving jars.

Peel and halve the onions, then grate ¾ of them into fine slices or half-rings. Cut the remaining onions into coarser bits.

In a small non-stick pan, heat the olive oil, then add the onions and fry on highest heat until they take on a slightly brown colour. Reduce heat, add the two sugar varieties, stir well, and let the sugar caramelise. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add red wine and balsamic vinegar, season with 2 turns of salt and 3 turns of pepper, then let simmer for another 15 – 20 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated almost completely.

Store the red wine onions in a preserving jar – they can be reheated before serving – or serve directly after cooking, cooled down to lukewarm.

Cut bread into slices and dry-roast in a non-stick pan. Remove rind from cheese and shave with a potato peeler.

Thinly spread the roasted bread – cooled down a little after roasting – with some sea salt butter, add some shaved cheese and top with the red wine onions.

Serve with a glass of the wine you used to cook the onions in.

Red Wine Onions 03