Hors D'Oeuvres & First Courses The Book

57. Onion Parmesan Toasts p.34

The recipe

These were remarkably simple little appetizers with some old school flair. It falls into the ancient and proud “stuff on toast” camp of appetizers. The secret to this style of appetizers is to give something either healthy or expensive prime billing in the name, but to make absolutely sure that most of your on-toast topping is creamy, cheesy, fatty, or preferably all three.

Here the role of healthy is played by a sweet onion, cheesy is played by Parmeigiano-Reggiano, and fatty is portrayed by mayonnaise. By volume there are 3/4 of a cup of onion, and a combined 3/4 of a cup of the cheese and mayo. By weight however the creamy fatty team makes up most of the toppings. A bonus rule for old school on-toast appetizers is to avoid unusual spices that might scandalize the croquet ladies. Garlic would be a bit outre, and curry powder is firmly in the province of those bohemian ne’er-do-wells that are tearing this country apart. My dining companion and I brought some guacamole to a family affair a while back, and when my grandmother tried it she said “who made this green stuff? It hurts my mouth”. Here the spices are kept safe and stayed, fresh ground black pepper. Of course pre-ground would be more familiar to the bridge club, but we can modernize a little bit.

I didn’t think I was going to like these all that much, broiled mayonnaise seemed a bit weird, but it really worked. The toasts, cocktail rye of course, crisped up nicely and the topping browned beautifully. I feared that the mayo would break under the heat, but that didn’t’ happen. The onions cooked enough to soften a bit and give off a great deal of flavour, and the cheese turned golden-brown and delicious. These were a fun easy throwback, that was yanked forward into modern times for some very good reasons.

The Book is a celebration of Gourmet Magazine’s 50th anniversary. A lot of the recipes are weighted towards the ’80’s and ’90’s though. It’s nice to see one that very clearly showed up in the earliest issues.