Braised Roscoff onion

Braised Roscoff onion
photo provided

Braised Roscoff onion with Brillat-Savarin cheese sauce

Tomas Lidakevicius, head chef at Turnips in Borough Market, London, shares this recipe for a starter with Falstaff.

Tomas LidakeviciusRobert Prazak
Underneath the arches of Borough Market at London Bridge, you find fine dining restaurant Turnips. It showcases a cooking style that follows the natural cycles of the market’s produce. Since July 2020, Tomas Lidakevicius, born in Lithuania, is at the helm of Turnips.

King of alliums

Tomas shares one of his favourite recipes with Falstaff: “When it comes to onions, Roscoff is the king of alliums... mild, sweet and not too oniony; brilliant flavour when cooked, but also edible raw. This starter is an easy but beautiful showstopper.” Tomas suggests using Brillat-Savarin cheese for the sauce, but you could use brie at a pinch instead. “And please do add a scattering of your favourite pickles to the finished dish - wild garlic capers would be especially good.”

Ingredients (4 servings)
2 large Roscoff onions, halved with the skins on
200 ml vegetable or chicken stock
4 thyme sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/315°F/Gas 2-3.

Place the onion halves in a small, heavy roasting tin. Pour over the stock and tuck half the herbs and all the garlic around the onions.

Season with salt and pepper, cover with foil, and pop the tray in the oven. Braise for 25-30 minutes, until the onions are soft but not breaking apart. Lift the onions from the stock, strain the stock into a bowl, then cool and chill the onions and the stock until ready to use.

For the cheese sauce

Ingredients (4 servings)
2 tablespoon(s) vegetable or light olive oil
1 banana shallot, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
50 ml white wine
50 ml double (heavy) cream
150 g Brillat-Savarin cheese, diced
1 teaspoon(s) lemon juice
1 tablespoon(s) wild garlic capers
4 slices of sourdough or brioche, toasted, to serve (optional)

Prepare the cheese sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and sweat over a low heat for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the remaining rosemary and thyme and the white wine. Bring to a boil and reduce by half (about 1 minute). Then, add 100ml (3% fl oz) of the reserved stock and cook for 10 minutes, until reduced by half again. By now your kitchen will be full of amazing aromas. (You can freeze any unused stock for another time, if necessary.)

Add the cream, bring the liquid to a boil, then remove from the heat and pick out the herbs. Use a stick blender to blend the sauce until smooth. Add the cheese and blitz again until smooth and then pass the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Season with salt and pepper and add the lemon juice to sharpen and balance the flavour.

To garnish (optional)

Ingredients (4 servings)
fried Roscoff onions
½ quantity of herb mayonnaise
micro chickweed

When you're ready to serve, peel the skins from the braised onions. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion halves, cut side down, and fry for about 2 minutes, until golden brown on the cut side. (If you happen to have the barbecue lit for something else, you can cook the onions over coals for a delicious, smoky flavour.)

To serve, place 1 onion half in each bowl, add the capers, if using, and pour the sauce around the onion, then garnish with fried Roscoff onions, herb mayo, and micro chickweed, if you wish. Enjoy with toasted sourdough or warm brioche to make the dish more substantial.

Tomas Lidakevicius
Tomas Lidakevicius
Robert Prazak
Robert Prazak
Editor Falstaff International