- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large Vidalia, Mayan Sweet, or Maui onions, peeled and sliced thin
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- Salt and ground white pepper to taste
- 4 slices day old brioche
- 8 white peppercorns, tied in a cheesecloth sachet and lightly pounded
- 1/4 cup white port, or 1/4 cup white wine plus 2 tablespoons sugar
DIRECTIONS In a large casserole or soup pot, melt 1 stick of the butter over medium heat. When it begins to foam, add onions, and ramps or scallions. Season well with salt and white pepper. Mix well, reduce heat to low, and cover. Sweat the alliums, stirring every 15 minutes, until onions are meltingly tender, 45 minutes. Do not let onions brown.
While onions cook, make croutons: stack the brioche slices and cut stack into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Turn the stack 90 degrees and repeat, cutting bread into 1/2 inch squares. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter. When butter foams, add brioche squares and cook, stirring frequently, until croutons turn golden brown. Arrange in a single layer on a tray lined with paper towels, season with fine salt, and let cool.
Add peppercorn sachet to pot containing onions, and stir. Add white port and simmer 15 minutes or until about 75 percent of the port has cooked off. Add enough water to just cover onion mixture, ant 1 1/2 cups. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove sachet. Working in batches if necessary, transfer soup to a blender, cover and puree until smooth. The soup can be eaten at this stage, or passed through a fine mesh sieve or chinois for a luxuriously smooth texture.
You may wish to reheat the soup over low heat, especially if you’ve taken the time to pass it through a strainer. Before ladling it into soup bowls, check its seasoning a final time and adjust accordingly with salt and white pepper. Garnish each bowl of soup with a handful of croutons and serve hot.