Now much as I love drinking Chardonnay in its various forms (Bubbles anyone? My personal favorite…), I’m of the opinion that one of the best uses of Chardonnay is in cooking. I love to cook, and in particular, I love to cook for other people. Entertaining friends and family is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and I try to do it as often as possible. Because I enjoy the company of my friends and always want to be “part of the party,” I tend to favor simple recipes when hosting a get-together so I’m not slaving in the kitchen while everyone else is in the other room drinking all of my wine.
A few years ago I spent some time in Fiji at this amazing hotel owned by an Italian couple. It was a small place, maybe only 20 guests total, so the owners did all of the cooking for the guests. The following recipe is a riff on one of the outstanding dishes they served while I was there, and as is typical of me, when I taste something fantastic I try to recreate it back at home. Their recipe is vastly superior to mine, I’m sure, and in fact there are many similar recipes out there, but my addition of the Chardonnay takes it over the top. I have served this many times to friends and family and it always disappears the minute the plate hits the table.
1 large sweet onion (Walla Walla, Maui or similar), sliced
2 TB good quality olive oil
¾ cup Chardonnay
Bread base: flatbread (Trader Joe’s has a great flatbread), baguette slices or similar
1-2 cups grated Italian cheese, depending on how much cheese you like (fontina, parmegiano reggiano, mozzarella or combination)
1 TB fresh rosemary, chopped
In a sauté pan, cook onions, sea salt & cracked black pepper in the olive oil over medium high heat.
When onions start to brown, add the Chardonnay to deglaze the pan, turn the heat down and let the onions cook slowly until the liquid is reduced and the onions are soft and caramelized.
Brush a baking sheet or pizza pan with additional olive oil and arrange several flatbread rounds or the baguette slices on the pan. Spoon the onion mixture onto the bread, sprinkle with cheese and the rosemary.
Cook in a 425 degree (F) oven until cheese is melted and bread is golden on the edges. Slice flatbread into wedges and serve.