Époisses is silky and sensuous, highly aromatic French cheese with surprisingly mellow flavors. I like to serve it on appetizer-sized, open-faced grilled cheese Époisses toasts. They’re plenty cheesy and very rich so I balance the ooey-gooey texture and meaty flavors with pickled shallots and some sweet and tangy onion jam.
- ½ cup thinly sliced shallots
- 3/4 cup water (divided)
- 3/4 cup red wine vinegar (divided)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (divided)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 large yellow onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- freshly cracked black pepper (as needed for seasoning)
- 12 slice baguette (sliced on the bias)
- 1 (8 oz) wheel Époisses cheese (chilled and cut into 12 wedges)
- baby arugula leaves (to taste)
Make the pickled shallots: Place the sliced shallots in a medium, heat-proof bowl. Place ½ cup water, ½ cup vinegar, ¼ cup sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small, nonreactive saucepan; bring to a boil and remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool then pour over the shallots. Let sit at least 8 hours at room temperature.
Make the onion jam: Melt the butter in a medium skillet set over medium-low heat. Add the onions and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are deep, golden brown, about 1 hour. Raise the temperature to medium-high and add remaining ¼ cup water and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom. Add remaining ¼ cup vinegar, remaining ¼ cup sugar, soy sauce, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, thyme leaves, and season with a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring often until liquid is reduced and syrupy. Set aside to cool.
Make the Époisses Toasts: Preheat the broiler. Place the baguette slices on a sheet pan in a single layer and lay a chilled cheese wedge on each slice of bread. Broil until the cheese is melted and the edges of the bread are nicely browned.
Quickly move the toasts to a serving plate and top each with a teaspoon or two onion jam, a few leaves baby arugula, and some pickled shallots. Season with black pepper and serve immediately.