Sunday, November 18, 2007

Apple and Red Onion Relish

Isn't it interesting how a photograph attracts you to something? Take this picture of Woods Lake. The idyllic winter setting prompts you to return in July after the snows have melted and the wildflowers are in full bloom.

My reaction to the deep red color of the red onion and apple relish is similar. To me the dish resembled German red cabbage, a holiday side dish that I've loved since childhood. As soon as I saw the picture, I could smell the marriage of the sharp vinegar and sweet apple.

Like many recipes in Christine France's cookbook, The Complete Guide to Making Sauces by (Hermes House: London, 2005), this one comes together quickly. You can prepare the relish in a little more an hour.

You may need to cover your eyes while the onions braise in their own juices. But as they soften into a thick relish, the sharp bite of the onion will mellow into a delicately sweet condiment.

You may find that the relish is a refreshing change from candied cranberry sauce. Use the relish in place of cranberry sauce at the Thanksgiving table this week. And it's great as a condiment on ham or turkey sandwiches made with holiday leftovers.


A pinch of salt will help extract the juices from the onion during the first step. Be careful not to brown the relish. You want it to slowly braise in its own juices and the vinegar.

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large red onions, thinly sliced (about 2 pounds)
6 tablespoons granulated sugar.
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and grated
6 tablespoons cider vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and stir in the sugar. Let cook, uncovered, for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened.

Add apples to the skillet with the vinegar. Continue to cook for an additional 20 minutes until the relish is thick and sticky. Cool and place in an airtight container. It'll keep for a month in the refrigerator. Makes about 3 cups.

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