Crisp mini phyllo tarts filled with soft cream cheese and caramelized onions pair excellently with sparkling wine to make easy and enticing party appetizers.
When it comes to entertaining, if you are anything like me, you can rock entrees and desserts, but are seemingly lost at coming up with decent appetizers. An easy way to start your gathering on a sparkling note (pardon the pun) is to pair a bottle of sparkling wine with fuss-free hors d’oeuvre that gets everyone excited about the meal to come.
Sparkling wine is so much fun! The pop, the fizz, the bubbles, the sweet-sharp taste as the wine smoothly glides down your throat is like a party in every sip.
I thoroughly enjoyed these bottles of sparkling wine from Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards in Sonoma, Ca. Featured here are the Sonoma Brut and Blanc De Noirs from their non-vintage sparkling wine collection. Did you know that Gloria Ferrer is California’s most awarded sparkling wine house and has received over 500 gold medals and 50 90+ ratings in the last 5 years?
The Sonoma Brut is a cheerful golden hue; with crisp floral, citrus and toasty notes. It is crafted entirely from hand-harvested Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.
The Blanc De Noirs reminds me of rose gold; getting its richness and vibrance from red fruit. It is predominantly made from hand-harvested Pinot Noir grapes.
The best way to enjoy quality sparkling wines such as these are to pair them with food that complements rather than overpowers the flavors and notes of the wine. One might not think of onions in such a scenario, but what about caramelized onions?
Caramelized onions are the most complex yet simple ingredients ever, the pungent raw onion gets transformed into something mellow, rich and soothing to the palate. If you have ever wondered how to make caramelized onions at home, today’s recipe will detail it for you.
These mini tarts made by assembling crisp phyllo tart shells with soft cream cheese, a heaped spoonful of the caramelized onions and brightened with a sprig of rosemary are the perfect accompaniment to the Gloria Ferrer sparkling wines. I also added a slice of fried mushroom as garnish though it works well without it too. The rich, toasty, sweetness of the onions and the creaminess of the cream cheese pair perfectly with the effervescence of the fruity wines.
Isn’t it fun when appetizers or finger food literally fit in your fingers and can be enjoyed in one small bite? I definitely think so. I made these for our Thanksgiving dinner, but I see myself making them again at different events throughout the year.
Here’s how to make Caramelized Onion & Cream Cheese Phyllo Bites.
- Red onion - 1 large
- Butter - 2 tbsp, divided
- Red wine - 2 tbsp (see Notes)
- Salt - a big pinch
- Button mushroom - 3-4, thinly sliced
- Mini phyllo tart shells - 15, ready-to-use
- Cream cheese - 4 oz, softened
- Caramelized onions - ⅔ cup
- Fresh rosemary - a few sprigs
- Caramelized Onions & Fried Mushrooms (can be made ahead): Peel and trim onion, then slice thinly (but not too thinly).
- Place a large skillet on medium heat and melt 1 tbsp butter. Add onions and stir to combine with butter.
- Cook onions until they begin to soften, then add wine and salt and continue cooking, stirring them every 5-10 minutes. Scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan from time to time.
- Keep a close eye when onions start to smell caramelized and remove from heat when uniformly browned and caramelized. The exact cooking time will depend on the type of onion, the pan size and cooking temperature, so just go by your sight, smell and taste!
- Remove onions to a container. Once completely cooled, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and gently heated up before use.
- Once onions are done, add the remaining butter to the skillet and fry mushroom slices till nicely charred. Remove and place on paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Phyllo Bites: Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg.F. Place the tart shells in a baking tray or cookie sheet. Divide the cream cheese among the tart cups. Bake for 7-8 minutes.
- Top each tart shell with 2 tsp of caramelized onions, a slice of fried mushroom and a couple of leaves of rosemary. Serve immediately with wine.
2. Caramelize a couple of large onions and refrigerate the excess. They can be used throughout the week in soups, stir fries, curries, sandwiches, protein bowls and more.
The appetizers come together quickly when you make the caramelized onions ahead of time and assemble the phyllo tarts just when you need them. Aren’t they just so pretty?!!
Don’t forget to PIN & SAVE this recipe for later.
What is your take on appetizers? Do you have any favorite easy appetizer recipes? What are some of your favorite wine and food pairings? Do let me know in the comments!
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