Soupe a l'Oignon Gratinee
1 baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (around 30 slices)
9 tablespoons butter, softened
9 ounces Emmental cheese, finely grated
8 medium yellow onions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon kosher/sea salt
1 cup tomato puree
1. Toast the baguette slices and coat each with butter after they have cooled. Then spread a generous layer of the Emmental cheese over them. Use all but about 1/2 cup or more of the cheese.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter (or 4 tablespoons) and saute the onions until they are very soft and golden.
3. In a casserole dish (at least 5 quarts. I used a Dutch oven), arrange a layer of 1/3 of the bread slices. Spread 1/3 of the onions over them, followed by 1/3 of the tomato puree. Repeat for two more layers. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top. To avoid boiling over, dish must not be more than 2/3 full.
4. In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 quarts water to boil. Add the salt. Very slowly, pour the salted water into the casserole, near the edge, so that the liquid rises to the top layer of cheese without covering it. You may need more or less water.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the casserole on the stove and simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Then transfer to hot oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour. The soup is ready when the surface is crusty, golden cake and the inside is unctuous (nice word!) and so well blended that it is difficult to discern onion from cheese. Each person is served some of the baked crust and some of the inside, which should be thick but not completely without liquid. Serves 6.
PS - Betcha y'all didn't know that I had mad kitchen skillz. OK, I promise never to type "skillz" again.