Onion Jam Allumettes

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These little morsels will be the talk of your holiday cocktail party.  the sweet-salt balance is subtle enough to compliment everything from champagne to your most complicated mixological concoction.

Allumette is the classic term for strips of puff pastry. The word means matchstick, but these are certainly not meant to be that thin. Aim for creating small, thin, bite-sized rectangles.


2 ½ pounds red onion, peeled, cut in half, and sliced thin

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt—try Halen Mōn, flor de sal, a smoked salt, or a salt infused with shitake or truffles.

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme

¼ cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/3 red wine vinegar

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1 package frozen puff pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator overnight (See the Frozen Puff Pastry in Techniques)


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add onions, reduce heat, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the onions begin to sweat and soften. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat until they begin to color—about 30 minutes.
  1. Add ½ teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, the bay and thyme. Cover and continue to cook another 30 minutes.
  1. Add sugar, wine, and vinegars. Increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring, for 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to as the liquid reduces, and the onions are creamy and sticky.
  1. Cool mixture, then transfer to a plastic tub and refrigerate. (If you make a large enough batch, you can sock some away for use throughout the year—it only gets better with age!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat it with pan spray. Whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash. Open the defrosted frozen puff pastry into a rectangle and rollout slightly, to flatten. You don’t need to reduce the thickness too much—it should be about ¼ inch thick. Brush the surface with the egg wash. Set it in the freezer for 5 minutes so that the dough stays firm when cut.
  1. sing a pastry wheel (aka pizza cutter) cut the chilled, egg washed puff pastry into ½ -inch-wide by 3-inch-long strips. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, about ½-inch apart. Top each wih a small dollop of onion jam, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Chill again for 5 -10 minutes. Bake until golden and puffed, about 15 minutes. Rotate the pan as necessary for even browning. Cool slightly, then arrange on a platter and serve.


Chicken Liver Pâté

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This is one of mankind’s all-time great hors d’oeuvres.  No.  I am not over-selling it.

To much of the world, There is nothing fancy about eating chicken livers. But some how the French managed to elevate it (as they do with most mundane things—bread, underwear, smoking, words). Spread this on a thin slice of baguette or toasted rye, c’est manifique.


½ pound chicken livers, well cleaned

2 shallots, chopped

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt – try a sel gris, fleur de sel, Piran, Japanese shio, Maldon, or a smoked salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

½ cup white wine

1 teaspoon cognac or brandy

6 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon powdered gelatin

¾ cup port wine or dry sherry


  1. Combine livers, shallots, 1 sprig of thyme, salt, pepper and wine in a small saucepan.   Bring to a simmer and cook, for 3 minutes, until the livers are set and barely pink on the inside. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
  1. Drain the liquid off the cooled livers, remove thyme sprig, and transfer solids to food processor. Add cognac and puree until smooth. Slowly add 6 ounces of butter, a tablespoon at a time, as the processor spins; this emulsifies and enriches the pate.

Transfer to serving terrine, then spread and tap the top to smooth it.   Set aside in the refrigerator.

  1. Pour the water in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top. Set aside until the gelatin softens and absorbs the water, about 5 minutes. Bring the port and remaining thyme to a simmer. Add the gelatin and stir until it dissolves, then pour through a fine mesh strainer onto the top of your pate. Chill until set, at least an hour. Serve with crackers, bread, cornichons, assorted pickles, onion marmalade, fresh sliced radishes, and an assortment of cheese, fruits, and nuts.  You’re about to become the entertainer of the year!


Jelly-free – If you are freaked out by gelatin, you can finish your paté with melted butter. there is an alternative. You can melt additional butter and pour into a very thin layer on top of the chilled paté. Before the butter sets, sprinkle the top with a solid layer of finely chopped parsley. Refrigerate until set, at least an hour. This can be done a day or two ahead—in fact it’s better that way, as the flavors improve as it sits.