I discovered this wonderful spread in an overpriced, but otherwise average restaurant I’d certainly try to forget if it hadn’t been for quark with caramelised red onion, the highlight of their welcome snacks (and of the whole evening really). Visually unappealing, it proved surprisingly complex in taste and absolutely delicious. It has quickly become my staple light snack and favourite winter breakfast. I prepare a batch and, as soon as it’s finished, I prepare a new one. It’s been going on like this for several weeks and I don’t get tired of all these fantastic flavours.
TIPS: The restaurant I’ve mentioned used quark (aka fresh cheese or fromage frais), which is not available everywhere. Greek yogurt has a similar consistency and is also perfect here (I’ve tested both and even made it with normal natural yogurt and all these three options work perfectly). (Though if you have choice, do try it with quark first). You can also try it with thick sour cream; it will no longer be light, but the slight tanginess will be there.
US cream cheese is not an option here: it doesn’t have the tanginess and freshness yogurts or quark have, so I don’t advise it; moreover the spread would no longer be healthy or light….
The condiments’ amount given below should be treated as a vague proposition. Taste the onion (when cooled) and adjust according to your taste.
If you skip soy sauce, the onions will retain their purple colour. (Soy sauce is my recent improvement idea).
SERVING IDEAS: My absolute number one is a canapé with thin Finnish wholemeal crisp bread, but it goes as spread/dip on any bread, chips, nachos, etc.. You can serve it as a side dish with grilled chicken or as heat taming sauce with Mexican or even Indian dishes. I’m sure it tastes fantastic with baked potatoes.
Preparation: about 30 minutes + at least 2 hours in the fridge.
200 ml (about 6 oz) Greek yogurt or Quark (see the TIPS above)
1 big red onion (which has a size of a medium white onion)
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons vinegar (the best would be balsamic; if you use a stronger one, put only 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
ground black pepper
(salt, if needed)
Cut the peeled onion in half and slice more or less finely.
Heat the oil in a pan and constantly stirring, fry the onion at medium heat until it loses about half of its volume.
Add the vinegar, the soy sauce and the sugar and continue stir-frying.
After about 5 minutes, put aside, let it chill and taste. Adjust the flavours, adding more salt, sugar or vinegar and fry for a minute to heat once more. (Don’t taste the onion when it’s warm because the taste changes a lot). At the end add ground pepper and give the onions the last stir.
Combine with the yogurt or quark, add more freshly ground black pepper, and refrigerate for at least two hours. It improves greatly overnight.