16 September 2013

Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Wontons

I tweeted a little bit about the totally amazing dinner my husband and I had on our trip to Florida.  We went to the restaurant pretty much entirely because we thought the name, Fat Clemenza's, was funny and ended up having just about the best meal from start to finish that either of us can remember.  I have had two other meals that compared -- one at a tiny bistro in Paris and the other at one of Daniel Boulud's restaurants in New York.  Fat Clemenza's was way up there in the yumminess stratosphere.  There was a lot to love about the meal. but the best thing was how simple it all was.  No complicated names, fancy plating, exorbitant prices -- just perfectly cooked food with a perfect balance of ingredients.  It was really refreshing.

Our main course was a wood oven fired pizza topped with caramelized onion and gorgonzola.  There was a smear of olive oil on the crust (which was the best crust I have ever had) and some mozzarella.  That's it.  It was heaven and I haven't been able to get it off my mind since. 

You may know this already, but I am a huge football fan.  I have to do most of my cooking, at least the time consuming cooking, on Sunday.  Since football season has begun, I have to get it done by noon on Sunday.  It helps if what I come up with is finger food so I can munch and watch the game at the same time.  I was pushing things time-wise, since these aren't the quickest thing to put together, but they are insanely simple.  Don't be intimidated by the folding of the wontons.  It's not complicated; it just takes a little time.

The other thing that takes a little time is caramelizing the onions.  I like to do it really slowly on the lowest heat my stove can manage.  It takes about an hour, but it makes perfectly brown, sweet onions every time.  You don't have to stand over the pot the entire time since the heat is so low.  Go do something else.  As long as you give 'em a stir every ten minutes or so they'll be okay.  No matter how much you want to, though, don't turn up the heat.  Your patience will be rewarded.

Here's a little tutorial on how to fold and fill you wontons:

Lay out a wonton wrapper.  Dip the tip of your finger in water and get the outer edge a little damp.
Put about a teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper.  I use a little demitasse/espresso spoon I managed to procure at some point.  It's the perfect amount.
 Fold the wonton wrapper in half, pinching the edges just a little and being careful not to get any of the filling in the edge.
Fold one corner over just past the middle, dabbing a little water on the corner to stick it down.
 Fold in the other corner and you're all done.  Each one takes about 30 seconds once you get the hang of things.

Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Wontons
makes about 60 wontons
2 large yellow onions, very roughly chopped
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
5 oz crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
60 wonton wrappers
Vegetable oil
Put the onions and butter in a larger, heavy skillet over very low heat.  Let the onions cook, uncovered for 30 minutes, or until translucent, stirring every 10 minutes.  As soon as the onions are translucent, put the lid on and cook, covered, stirring every 10 minutes, until the onions are caramelized and brown.  Stir more often if they start getting too dark on the bottom of the pan.  This step will take about 30 more minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture with the cheeses.  Stir until smooth and well combined.
Put about a teaspoon of filling into each wonton wrapper, folding as directed above.  Cover the folded wontons with a kitchen towel to keep the wrappers from drying out.
Add about 1" of oil to a large saucepan.  Heat over medium heat to about 365°.  Cook the wontons in very small batches for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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