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50 Fabulous Men Who Cook
Jonathan Eaton

Jonathan Eaton

Opera Theater of Pittsburgh TIPS $50

Artistic and General Director

TIPS TOTAL: $50

"I love our wide web of culture in Pittsburgh and I am proud to be the Artistic Director of one small part of it. I love food and always like a bit of heaven on a plate!"

-- Jonathan Eaton

Jonathan has served as Artistic and General Director of Opera Theater of Pittsburgh since 1999. Some of his notable productions have included:

  • The world's first Eco-opera, A New Kind of Fallout by Lyons and Ryan
  • Weill's Lost in the Stars conducted by Julius Rudel, a historic revival of Duke Ellington's Beggar's Holiday
  • Shining Brow, performed on the terraces of Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic house, Fallingwater
Among these are 40 more productions that he has directed.

Jonathan has also directed plays and musicals at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Actors Theater Louisville, the Repertory Theater of St. Louis and the Pittsburgh Playhouse. He has enjoyed teaching and giving masterclasses at many universities around America.

"How nice it is to cook for such a great cause!"

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CARAMALIZED SHALLOTS W/WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE

I like this recipe with whole shallots but it can be done also with sliced shallots. Shallots are richer and smokier in flavor than onions.

1 pound shallots, the larger ones halved, serves 6 or more

2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

A good pinch of salt; pepper to taste

Herbs: either 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped, or other herbs as preferred (rosemary can be good if used sparingly)

2 tablespoons medium sweet sherry or white port or red port (though this can be quite sweet)

2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar

Firm-textured rich-flavored goats cheese: sliced into thin discs or crumbled

Alternative: softer-textured goats cheese whipped up with a little creme fraiche and warmed to room temperature (play with your seasonings!)

Optional: roast whole cloves of garlic included among the shallots

Mini pastry bases, or large dough base, or pizza or flat bread base, or vol-au-vents, or toasted rounds of baguette

balsamic vinegar reduction to drizzle over the top

Optional decorations: chopped walnuts, chopped up figs (you can also try putting these in earlier as the shallots cook), tiny slices of prosciutto or bacon, chopped parsley, fresh chopped basil leaves or arugula.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

If you use whole shallots, put the shallots into a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave for 10 minutes, then drain fully and peel. They are much easier to peel this way). Halve large shallots, or cut off tops and bottoms so they can sit upright on a base, or slice (they will cook more quickly this way). Optional: add a few cloves of elephant/large garlic and treat similarly to the shallots.

Heat olive oil and butter in an ovenproof skillet (or use a frying pan and eventually transfer to an oven dish). Add the brown sugar, mix and melt, then add shallots, cut-side down if you've halved any. Brown over medium-low heat for 5 or so minutes, until a rich brown crust develops on the bottom of the shallot, then flip over repeat on the top side.

Take the pan off of the heat, and add everything else -- salt, pepper, thyme, sherry, vinegar, herbs -- shake the pan a bit to mix, and then cover with foil or lid (or transfer mixture to covered baking dish) and roast in the oven until completely cooked through. Depending on the size of your shallots, this can take anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes, slow is good , test with a knife every 5 minutes after 20 minutes. You want the shallots al dente, soft but still holding together. Take out and allow to cool till warm.

Take not quite fully-cooked pastry bases, or vol-au-vents, or toasted baguette slices, or pizza crust, and add shallot mixture onto or into the pastry base. If you use discs or crumblings of goats cheese, add these on top of shallots, and return to oven for 10 minutes or until thoroughly warm, with goats cheese just beginning to brown and bubble. If instead you prefer to whip up softer goats cheese with creme fraiche, add this after you take the dish out of the oven for the final time, and after it has cooled to a warm temperature, on top of shallots and pastry in a nice fluffy mound. (You can play with the seasoning of this softer goats cheese version).

Serve warm but not too hot, drizzled with balsamic reduction.

You can add/decorate with walnuts, chopped up figs (you can also try putting these in earlier as the shallots cook), tiny slices of prosciutto or bacon, chopped parsley, fresh chopped basil leaves or arugula.

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