Sunday, November 1, 2009

Caramelized Cipollini Onions

I know people who say that they don't like onions. I don't understand this philosophy. I mean, let's be serious here, I'm not going to just go eat a great big Vidalia like an apple anytime soon, but can you make such a sweeping, general statement? Do you really want to banish onions from cooking entirely? Onions are in just about everything, people. Let's open our minds. Wikipedia states that evidences of onion use can be found dating back to 5000 BC. Are you gonna' fight with 7000 years of human culture? I thought not.

More often than not, people say it's the texture of the onions that they don't like. I think that's where cipollini onions can help us. These are not regular onions, people. They caramelize beautifully with a soft texture, they're sweet without the strong bite of other onions, and frankly, they look really cool. However, they are nasty little buggers to peel, so they're not quite perfect. But they're probably pretty close.

I love them, and I'm pretty sure that you will, too (yes you, the onion-hating people who are reading this who know who you are). I was cooking a few of these up the other day for some people who had ever heard of this concept before, and they just kind of looked at the pan and asked, "Are those onions?" Yes, they are. "Do we just eat them whole?" Yes, you do. Oh boy, do you.

Caramelized Cipollini Onions
  • 1 pound cipollini onions, peeled and hard roots carefully cut off, leaving as much onion as possible
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • About 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 large basil leaves, thinly sliced.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet, eat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, and stir frequently until browned, a few minutes on each side. Don't overcook, or they'll get kind of mushy, and that's a shame.

Remove the onions from the pan, and keep them close. Add the beef stock and vinegar, and stir, deglaze the bottom of the pan as much as possible. If there are any browned bits on the pan, dissolve them back into the liquid, because you don't want any of that sweet, oniony goodness to go to waste. When the liquid has reduced by about half, add the onions back, allowing them to reheat. Top with salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese, and basil.


heidikins said...

I am not what anyone would call an onion connoisseur...can I find these "fancy" onions by the "regular" onions? Teach me, because this looks delightful!


Bradley said...

Only a few of the more upper-scale grocery stores have them around here. They tend to be in the onion section, next to shallots and pearl onions here. You may need to ask, but trust me, it's worth it.

Lindsey said...

I'm pretty sure I'm the onion-hating person you're talking about:)

Bradley said...

Lin, yep you are. Maybe we'll give these a whirl for Thanksiving

aklapper said...

I found them right next to the onions at a co-op in Eugene, OR. I imagine they're at other local co-ops (because they are locally grown), but I just discovered them today. Do you have co-ops? I'm just curious because I grew up in WI, and don't recall having them around.