the menu: salad of fennel and winter leaves, onion soup (both recipes adapted from the kitchen diaries by nigel slater) fennel and winter leaves salad:
make the dressing by whisking together a tablespoon of vinegar, a generous teaspoon of dijon mustard, an egg yolk, and 1/3 cup of olive oil with a little sprinkle of salt and pepper. then, beat in 3 heaping tablespoons of paremsan cheese and stir in 2 1/2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. set aside until salad is made.
cut 2 slices of thick white bread into chunks and fry in a small amount of olive oil until golden on all sides. drain bread on paper towels. slice 1 medium bulb of fennel finely. toss the fennel with 4 cups of winter salad leaves such as arugula or watercress and the dressing. place the salad on two plates, then shave pieces of parmesan over the salad with a vegetable peeler. top the salads with the hot croutons and eat right away while everything is fresh and crunchy.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel 4 onions and cut them in half from tip to root, then lay them in a roasting pan and add 3 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper. Roast until tender and soft and toasted brown around the edges. Cut the onions into thick segments, put them in a saucepan with about 4 ounces of white wine and bring to a boil. Next, pour in 6 cups of chicken stock, bring back to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Before you serve the soup, make cheese croutons. Use good quality bread, sliced, and toast lightly under a hot broiler. Turn over the slices and sprinkle with grated gruyere cheese. Ladle the soup into bowls and place cheese croutons on top.