Many of our readers have asked for recipes from our Michael Salmon’s Foodie Adventure trips to Tuscany. Here is a recipe for a soup that was a guest favorite!
Tuscan Onion Soup with a Pecorino Crust serves 8
by Chef Michael Salmon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound pancetta, small diced
4 large yellow onions
1 cup young fruity Sangiovese wine
2 quarts beef stock
4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 thick (3/4-inch) slices of rustic Tuscan bread
2 cloves garlic
1 cup grated aged Pecorino cheese
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
- Cut the dark green parts from the leeks and reserve for another use. Cut the remaining white and pale green part of the leek in half lengthwise and remove any of the root section that holds it together. Separate the pieces and place in a large bowl of cold water to allow the grit and dirt to loosen. Clean the pieces with your fingers, scrubbing off any dirt. Remove the leeks from the bowl and repeat the process of cleaning once more.
- Heat a large soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the pancetta and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
- Peel the onions, slice in half lengthwise and remove the root core. Thinly slice the onions lengthwise. Place in the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes over medium heat.
- Slice the leeks into thin long strips, add to the pot with the onions and continue cooking and stirring for 10 more minutes.
- Pour in the red wine and reduce the mixture for 5 minutes.
- Add the beef stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and black pepper.
- Just before service, grill the bread slices until they are very crunchy. Rub each slice with some of the raw garlic cloves; the coarse texture of the toast will actually grate the garlic.
- Preheat the broiler. Place the toasts on a baking sheet and divide the cheese equally over the top of the toasts. Place the pan under the broiler and melt the cheese until lightly browned.
- Ladle the hot soup into bowls and top with the cheese toasts and a sprinkling of parsley. Serve immediately.