Most people's go-to option for snacks when hosting a dinner party is to offer a cheese platter. There's nothing wrong with that - I loves me some cheese & crackers! This little hors d'oeuvre is a good choice if you want to offer something just a bit more interesting. Serving brie cheese warm and melting really awakens its flavours and the tart balsamic onion jam takes it to the next level. The onion jam has a punchy flavour that goes well with any kind of strong cheese.
The cheese I chose for this recipe is called La Sauvagine. It's not really a "Brie" cheese, but it's the same style and has a robust flavour I just love. It's from a local producer here in Montreal and is found in most grocery stores, but I'm not sure how easy it is to find in the rest of Canada, or in the U.S. Any soft ripened cheese will work fine in this recipe, but ideally you should go for something with a punchy flavour that will hold up to the balsamic onion jam. Avoid double or triple-cream bries because usually their flavour is milder and they can get too runny when heated.
The onion jam can be made ahead of time and will keep for weeks in the fridge if properly stored. The canapés can be made several hours ahead of time and kept in the fridge until needed. Wait until the last moment to warm them up, because they are tastiest straight out of the oven.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes 20 canapés
2 cups onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
200g Brie, Camembert or similar cheese
20 crackers or toast points
1. Put the onions in a frying pan, season with salt and then place on medium-high heat. Stir occasionally and when the onions have softened and just start to brown, add the butter and olive oil. Continue cooking on medium-high heat until the onions are evenly browned, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the sugar and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce until most has evaporated and the syrup coats the onions. The jam can be made ahead of time and will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
3. Cut the cheese into 20 equal pieces and place each one on a cracker or toast point. Top with one small spoonful of onion jam. Place the crackers in a 300F oven until the cheese just starts to melt- about 3-5 minutes.
Derek Bocking is a professional chef with over 15 years culinary experience. On his blog, Derek's Kitchen, he shares restaurant-style recipes for amateur gourmets to try at home, from quick and easy meals to more elaborate showstoppers.
by Derek Bocking