For some reason I keep referring to this dip as my Sicilian onion dip. Let me make something clear: I have never been to Sicily nor am I well versed in their cooking.I just like the name. And somewhere deep in my bones I think it fits. One of you will have to tell me.
I buzzed up this recipe just before my birthday last year in an attempt to beat hummus to the appetizer finish line. I had some extra caramelized onions in the freezer (always keep some on hand) and wanted to see how they’d do in a dip. I’m not a fan of cream-cheesy Lipton French onion fakeness so I tried to go in the strongest opposite direction. Tarragon, tomatoes, walnuts and lemon took me down that road. The flavors balanced each other, the lemon with the onions, the tarragon with the tomatoes. Walnuts work perfectly here, they’re fatty without being greasy and nutty without being over the top. This is not a dip for Hazelnuts. Too. Much. Personality.
I salted and peppered the dip and found it yearning for something else. So I pulled out another emergency ingredient. Anchovies. If you’re afraid of them, get over it. The oily fillets bumped up the salt quotient and left a glorious impression throughout the dip.
Why am I telling you about my birthday meal now, 5 months later?
Because Passover starts next week and if you’re looking for something to get the party started this is your dip. Leave out the anchovies if you’ve got vegetarians coming over, double up the fishies if you’ve got vegans in the house. Scare ‘em straight.
Matzoh and hummus only goes so far, this year dress up your cracker with some style.
Completely unfounded Sicilian style.
Free of Dairy, Gluten, Soy, Corn. Vegetarianable.
- 3 medium White or Yellow Onions
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2 cups Walnuts
- 3/4 cup Canned Chopped Tomato
- 1/2 cup Tarragon Leaves, packed
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 3 Anchovy Fillets in Oil
- 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- Slice the onions as thin as possible. Put them in a sauce pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir them every few minutes until they are golden and gooey. They should reduce to roughly one cup. You’ll know they’re done when the house smells like France.
- While the onions are caramelizing, toast your nuts. In a dry pan over low heat give the walnuts some color. Beware: they burn quickly and this only takes a few minutes at most.
- Put the caramelized onions in your food processor with the nuts, tomato, tarragon, 1/4 cup oil, anchovies, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Buzz, buzz, buzz. Smooth.
Prep. Time: ~40 minutes (mostly caramelizing onions, do that ahead of time!)
Yield: ~2 pints