NEW ORLEANS — Over the course of its 300-year history, New Orleans’ cuisine has been one of its greatest gifts to the world. Now, as we celebrate the city’s 300th birthday and WWL-TV’s 60th anniversary, our gift to you is a free e-cookbook, with free summertime recipes.

Click here to download the free "Summer Favorites" cookbook as well as the previous editions with Recipes for Cajun cooking, Lent, Global Cuisine and Holiday Recipes.

This edition of our "360 In the Kitchen" cookbook series focuses on dishes that are perfect for the long, hot south Louisiana summer. Coping with the heat and humidity of a New Orleans summer has been a way of life here from the beginning. From salads and dishes with lighter sauces to icy cool desserts, our cookbook gives you some creative recipe ideas to try without sacrificing any of the flavor that New Orleans cooks are known for.

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Bites

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. salted butter, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 5-6 oz. porta bello or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. Creole seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. grated gruyere cheese
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

  1. In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil along with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter along with the 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté the onions for 5 minutes. Add the dried thyme and sugar and continue to cook for 25 minutes on medium-low heat. Make sure to stir the mixture every 5 minutes or so. If the onions are caramelizing too fast, turn down the heat a little more. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, allow the onions to soak it all in. Turn off heat. Add the onions to the mushroom mixture. Season with the garlic powder, Creole seasoning and salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature. Mixture can be kept in an air-tight container and refrigerated for up to 48 hours at this point. Allow to come to room temperature before proceeding. Add the Gruyere cheese and mix well.
  3. Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  4. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 2-inch squares and place them on a lined baking sheet. Make sure the puff pastry is cold before proceeding. If not, allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before proceeding. Using a pastry brush, brush the beaten egg on the squares. Place a tablespoon of caramelized onion mixture in the center. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway in between until crisp and golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Chef's Notes:

  1. Make sure the puff pastry is cold when it goes into the oven.
  2. You can substitute the gruyere for mozzarella or gouda cheese

More Recipes:

Watch Chef Kevin Belton every Tuesday morning on Eyewitness Morning News on WWL-TV and WUPL.

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