“This recipe belongs to chef James Knappett and his hidden restaurant in London, called Kitchen Table. It’s tucked away at the back of Bubbledogs – a Champagne bar run by his wife. Every evening, James and his team prepare a menu to represent the best products of the day. The title of this dish is ‘Onion bowl’, however, it is much more than just a bowl of onions. This is a Michelin Star bowl of onions!” Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen’s United Kingdom
250 g unsalted butter, chopped
1 small white onion, halved and shells separated
1 tbsp olive oil
2 Norfolk baby onions, (or small pearl onions), peeled and halved, leaving the root intact
8 Jack by the Hedge leaves (see Note)
3 large brown onions, peeled
200 g sugar
200 ml white wine vinegar
½ small red onion, julienned
2 French shallots, halved and shells separated
1 tbsp thyme leaves
150 ml olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need to start this recipe 1 day ahead.
To make the onion bouillon, cut the onions in half, place in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to as low as possible and simmer for 12 hours, topping up with extra water when necessary. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine sieve and discard the solids. Return the bouillon to a clean pan and simmer until reduced by half.
Meanwhile, to make the pickled onion, divide the sugar and vinegar between 2 small saucepans. Add 100 ml water to each pan, then place the red onion in one pan and the shallots in another. Bring both pans to the boil, then remove from the heat and stand until completely cooled. Drain the onions and set aside.
To make the thyme oil, place the oil and thyme leaves in a blender and process for about 8 minutes or until smooth and the oil is well flavoured with thyme.
Place 50 ml water in a small saucepan over low heat until warm, then gradually whisk in the butter, one piece at a time until emulsified. Add the white onion shells and cook over very low heat just until the onion shells are tender.
To assemble, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the Norfolk onions, cut-side down until golden. Turn and cook the other side briefly. Layer the Norfolk baby onion, white skinned onion shells, pickled red onion and shallots and Jack by the Hedge leaves in 2 shallow bowls. Pour 80 ml (⅓ cup) onion bullion into each bowl and top with 1 teaspoon of thyme oil.
• Also known as garlic mustard or sauce-alone, Jack by the Hedge is found growing wild in hedgerows and open woodland in Europe. The leaves have a mild garlic taste and are often added to salads or used as garnishes.