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Goat Cheese & Moroccan Onion Jam Bruschetta

Goat cheese and moroccan onion jam

I’ve been to Marrakech, but this recipe was inspired by “pastures” closer to home: a restaurant in Potrero Hill called Baraka. Although I haven’t been in years and it closed in 2009, this one dish sticks in my tastebuds.

A combination of Mediterranean and North African flavors, you get creamy, tangy goat cheese with lusciously soft onions, earthy, aromatic cinnamon and allspice and a little heat from a few grinds of black pepper – all on top of crunchy, crusty bread. I seem to recall some dish-licking and lip-smacking the time we first ordered this.

But, you say, this dish involves turning on the oven in the summer! If you have these concerns, you don’t live in my town. San Francisco summer means it’s foggy and cold at night. Perfect weather for something warm and savory!

For the rest of you experiencing “normal” sultry summer weather, you might want to save this dish for the fall. Or, on a cool summer evening, this bruschetta would be mouthwatering served with a Mediterranean-inspired salad. You can heat it briefly in a toaster oven to minimize any additional warmth in your house and to keep your air conditioner from blowing a fuse.

In Moroccan cuisine, t’faya seems to be a sweet-savory sauce/condiment with caramelized onions (onion jam!) – it can top couscous or be served with a tagine. Traditional ingredients include cinnamon, allspice, saffron, black pepper, ginger, sugar and turmeric. It’s not clear to me, though, if t’faya is what you call the condiment, or any dish that uses it. Anyone know? I couldn’t find a lot of information about t’faya, but bastilla kept coming up in online searches for Moroccan cuisine (mmm, bastilla).

Goat Cheese & Moroccan Onion Jam Bruschetta

- makes about 8 large toasts –

½ T olive oil
3 T water
1 large yellow onion, halved and then sliced
¼ c golden raisins
1T plus 1t honey
¼ t cinnamon
1/8 t allspice
pinch black pepper
pinch salt
4 oz. round of goat cheese
Slices of French bread, toasted

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil and add sliced onions. Stir to coat. Add 1T water and cover. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring infrequently, just to check to make sure nothing is burning. You want to sweat the onions. Add 1-2T more water as needed and cook about 5 minutes more, until onions are soft. Add honey, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, salt, raisins (see instructions below) and stir. Heat through.

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While onions cook, put raisins in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, just to cover. Let them soak and plump up, about 10 minutes.

In a small ovenproof dish, place the round of goat cheese and top with the warm onion mixture. Bake in the oven or toaster oven (so you don’t heat up your entire kitchen – it IS summer) for about 10 minutes, or until the goat cheese is soft.

Serve warm, with pieces of toast.

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