the most indulgent french onion toast with caramelized onions and melted gruyère cheese
yield: 6 large toasts or 12 appetizer portions
4 tbsp butter
3 lbs onions, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp sherry wine
½ cup beef stock
2 large fresh thyme sprigs, plus leaves to garnish
1 bay leaf
6 large, thick slices of fresh sourdough bread
3 tbsp butter, melted
12 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot (or Dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the sliced onions and shallots. Season with a big pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until caramelized, about 45 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium. Stir in the sherry wine and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the beef stock, fresh thyme, and bay leaf. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook the mixture until most of the liquid has reduced, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Remove the thyme and bay leaves.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400F. Place the bread on a foil-lined sheet pan. Coat the bread with the melted butter. Toast the bread for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and set the oven to high broil.
Distribute the onion mixture and cheese onto each slice of toasted bread. Broil for 4-5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the toast is golden brown (watch closely so the bread doesn’t burn).
Cut the toast in half (if desired). Top each one with freshly cracked black pepper and fresh thyme leaves.