18 1/2-inch-thick rounds French baguette
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp EACH (60 mL total) extra virgin olive oil and butter
2 clove garlic, minced
8 cup (2 L) sliced Vidalia onions
3 Tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
2 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
6 cup (1.5 L) broth
1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine
¼ cup (60 mL) cognac
salt and pepper
6 reserved garlic croutons
8 oz (227 g) Gruyere cheese, grated
½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper
½ cup (125 mL) cool water
vegetable oil for deep frying
2 cup (500 mL) very thinly sliced Vidalia onions
½ cup EACH (250 mL total) extra virgin olive oil and vegetable oil
¼ cup (60 mL) sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) pureed Vidalia onion
1 tsp (5 mL) honey
salt and pepper
1. Brush both sides of bread slices with oil, set on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on centre rack of preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven (180 degrees Celsius) until golden, about 15 minutes.
2. Set oven to broil, top one side of bread with Parmesan cheese, and bake until cheese has melted and is golden, about 1 minute. Set aside.
1. In a large heavy bottomed stockpot set over medium heat, add oil and butter.
2. Add garlic, onions, sugar, thyme and bay leaf and cook until onions have started to darken at the edges, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Reduce temperature to low and leave onions to caramelize, uncovered, until bottom of the pot is covered in a rich, dark, nutty brown film, about 1 hour.
4. Add broth and wine and simmer 15 minutes, then stir in cognac and season with salt and pepper.
5. Just before serving, ladle hot soup into 6 ramekins, top each with 3 Parmesan croutons and a generous handful of Gruyère cheese.
6. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until cheese melts and is golden, about 5 minutes.
1. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper and water to form a smooth batter.
2. In a deep sided medium saucepot set over medium-high heat, add oil to a 2-inch depth and heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
3. Working in several small batches, dredge onions in batter mixture and fry in hot oil until crispy and golden, about 2 minutes, then transfer to paper towelling to drain.
1. Whisk together all ingredients and set aside until ready to serve.
2. To Plate: Line each of 4 plates with bib lettuce leaves, sprinkle with fried onions and spoon over a little Vidalia vinaigrette. Serve immediately alongside onion soup.