- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hundreds of boutique relishes, chutneys and glazes are available in trendy culinary shops with prices that are often sky-high. Why not try making one yourself?

A glorious homemade condiment added to a spread of toppings at your summer cookout can be a welcome surprise. I have one that is easy.

When you cook onions and shallots for a good, long time over moderate or low heat, they caramelize, and the natural sweetness becomes simultaneously subtle and enhanced. Accents of mustard and lemon or lime give this red onion and shallot marmalade just the right balance.

Great on all burgers whether beef, turkey, vegetable or tofu, red onion and shallot marmalade also works well as a wonderful topping for a simple goat-cheese-on-crackers appetizer or as an accompaniment to grilled vegetables. It’s also a superb garnish for mashed potatoes or rice, and is good on sandwiches, soups, crostini or even cheese pizza.

Red onion and shallot marmalade

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large red onion (about 3/4 pound), thinly sliced

5 or 6 medium-size shallots, thinly sliced

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice or more, to taste

1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest, grated or minced

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and shallot and saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle in salt and mustard, lower heat slightly and saute for 20 minutes.

Cover, turn heat way down and cook for another 45 minutes. Onion and shallot will become very pale and soft. Turn heat up to medium, cover again and cook for a final 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat and stir in lemon or lime juice to taste and the zest. Serve at room temperature or cold. The marmalade will keep for several weeks in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 cups.

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