Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dining Out: Sugo Restaurant and Tapas

I had an incredible food experience last week while on business to Duluth, GA...and I just had to share it with you. First of all, this restaurant serves delicious, lovingly prepared food. Second, great prices are accompanied by huge portions (I was happily able to box and bring home about half of my meal to enjoy for lunch the next day). Third, and perhaps most importantly, most menu items had an unusual but stunning combination of Greek and Italian ingredients.

My co-worker and I started off the evening trying their "famous" Meatball al Sugo (one meatball is plenty for two people). It was an fantastic combination of sausage stuffed with roasted tomatoes, dates and caramelized onions topped with a touch of tomato basil sauce. I enjoyed them so much it inspired me to come up with a meatloaf recipe using the same ingredients (to be posted here soon!). Then, for dinner
I enjoyed a dish called Pernice’s Chicken described as "dressed with a touch of tomato basil sauce, Prosciutto di Parma ham, caramelized onions, dates, spinach, pecorino romano, and provolone cheese. Served atop basil and black pepper papparadelle pasta tossed with roasted parsnips, caramelized radishes, figs, cherry tomatoes, cremini, portabello, and oyster mushrooms." It was soooo good and had some distinctive ingredients - I can't say I've ever had tomato sauce with figs, roasted parsnips and caramelized radishes. Who knew that combo would be so fabulous?

Amongst all of the deliciousness of the evening I have to admit my favorite thing was the caramelized onions. In both the meatballs and the chicken dish, it took me a while to figure out the secret flavor even though I knew it was something warm, translucent and soft with a hint of tangy sweetness. After Google searching Sugo recipes on the web, I soon discovered what I enjoyed were some very special caramelized onions...super slowly roasted with honey and balsamic vinegar. I think it will forever change the way I cook onions.



MM Comments: These onions are incredible. Since it takes a long time and some patience to make them, I recommend doubling the recipe and freezing the leftovers. I made this with 3 large, sweet onions this past weekend and ended up using them all weekend long - in meatloaf, on top of a sausage sandwich, and tossed in a pesto pasta dish. Soooo good!

Sugo's Caramelized Onions
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution

Ingredients:

  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 T plus 1 t olive oil divided
  • 2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t cracked black malabar pepper
  • 1/2 t chicken stock base
  • 1/4 t smoked Spanish paprika
Directions

To roast the garlic: Prehead oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off a head of garlic. Place in a garlic troaster, clay pot or baking dish and drizzle with 1 t olive oil. Cover tightly and roast until the garlic cloves are soft but still white about 30-45 minutes. Set aside 1/2 of the garlic for the onions, reserve the rest for another use

To carmelize the onions: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Pour the remaining olive oil into a baking pan and top with the onions. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and honey. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from 1/2 head over tehe onions and stir to combine. Sprinkle with salt , pepper, chicken stock base, and paprika. Cover with heavy alyuminum foil and roast for 4-6 hours until onions are very soft and gently caramezlied (medium brown).

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