You simply must make this recipe.
If these could be my only words for this post, it would summarize my feelings completely.
Like so many of the recipes I eagerly tear from the crisp binding of magazines, this recipe found itself placed in a folder, forgotten in the back of a bookshelf.
And there it remained, until a few days ago while I hunted for a completely different recipe.
And then my fingers ran across the glossy page.
A few hours later, this cheesy, salty, flaky loaf emerged from the oven, ready to accompany Mike's spicy chicken chili for dinner that evening.
By the next day, with the sunshine streaming through the blinds, there was only one detectable issue with this recipe.
I was left with less than half of a loaf to photograph.
Cheesy Onion Bread
slightly adapted from Food & Wine, September 2009
makes 1 loaf
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, 1 stick cubed
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup Gruyère cheese, coarsely shredded
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Regggiano, coarsely shredded
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
Fler de Sel, optional
Preheat the oven to 425°. Butter a 9-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. In a large skillet, melt the 1/2 stick of uncubed butter; pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a small bowl and reserve. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the poppy seeds and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the onion mixture onto a plate and refrigerate for 5 minutes, until cooled slightly. Stir in the Gruyère and Parigiano-Reggiano.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. Add the buttermilk and pulse 5 or 6 times, just until a soft dough forms. [Note: this can also be done by hand; rub the butter into the dry ingredients, then stir in buttermilk until dough forms.]
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Pat or roll the dough into a 2-by-24-inch rectangle. Spread the onion mixture on top. Cut the dough crosswise into 10 pieces. Stack 9 pieces onion side up, then top with the final piece, onion-side down. Carefully lay the stack in the prepared loaf pan, brush with the reserved butter, and sprinkle with fleur de sel.
Bake the loaf in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until it is golden and risen. Let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes before unmolding and serving.
The unmolded loaf can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. Rewarm before serving.