Caramelized Onion + Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Crispy Sage
Caramelized onions. Goat cheese. Crispy sage. I mean, how can you go wrong? One day I was desperately searching for a something I could quickly throw together for lunch, and these sandwiches were the very happy result of leftovers from a cooking class I hosted the night before. These little guys are pretty versatile. You can serve the sandwiches open-faced as crostini for nice hors d’oeuvres at a party; you can serve them hot or cold; you can use whole grain or gluten free bread or whatever you have on hand; and you can prep the caramelized onions a few days in advance for quick assembly (or if you’re feeling lazy, just buy some caramelized onion jam instead). Caramelizing onions isn’t the fastest of prep items, but it’s SO worth your time. I promise!
The amounts of the ingredients really varies based on the size of your bread and how many sandwiches you want to make. This will make at least 2 “normal” sized sandwiches.
1 large yellow/sweet onion
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar or honey
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, divided (optional)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
small bunch fresh sage (8-12 leaves)
4 oz+ plain goat cheese
4 slices bread
1. Caramelize the onion. Dice one large onion. Preheat 1 tbsp butter and/or olive oil (I like 1/2 Tbsp each because the butter helps with caramelization) in a skillet over medium-low heat. Once foam from butter subsides (if using), add onion, a generous pinch of salt, and a pinch of sugar or honey. Onion will first turn translucent, then eventually it’ll begin to caramelize (brown). If the edges start to brown within the first 10-15 minutes, reduce heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is totally caramelized, at least 30 minutes.
2. Crisp sage. Remove sage leaves from stems, and do your best to gently flatten each leaf. In a small pan, heat a generous 1+ Tbsp olive oil over medium to medium-high heat until the surface just begins to shimmer. Add a sage leave; it should start to turn a darker shade of green after a few seconds. Turn leaf, and cook a few more seconds until it’s all dark green. Remove leaf from oil with tongs or a fork and lay on a paper towel or brown bag to drain. The leaf should turn an even darker shade of green and crisp up almost immediately after being removed from oil; if it’s still floppy, it’s not ready! If leaves don’t crackle when you place them in the oil, the oil is not hot enough. If leaves start to brown, the oil is too hot. Once you get your technique down, you can crisp 3-5 leaves at a time, adding more oil (and letting it reheat) as necessary. I promise this isn’t as complicated as it might sound!
3. Prep bread. Preheat oven to 400°F. If you’re making sandwiches, place 4 slices bread on a baking sheet and lightly spread butter or drizzle olive oil on one side of each slice. Toast for 4-7 minutes until lightly browned.
4. Assemble. Equally divide goat cheese and spread over two slices of toasted bread (on the not-toasted side). Spread caramelized onion on remaining two slices of bread. Place in oven for 2-3 minutes or until goat cheese just begins to melt (optional). Lay crispy sage leaves on top of onion, then place the slices with goat cheese on top and gently press together.
To speed up the assembly, caramelize onion and crisp sage ahead of time. Store in airtight containers–onion in the fridge and sage at room temp.
Caramelized onions will last at least a week in the fridge. They also freeze well!
If making crostini instead of sandwiches, make sure bread slices are very thin (sliced to less than 1/2″ ideally). After step 3, butter/oil second side of bread slices and toast another 3-5 min or until browned. Spread on goat cheese, then onions, and warm for 2-3 minutes in oven (optional). Top with sage. You can also toast the bread ahead of time.