Yummy Onions

 

            First question I’m always asked about onions is why do they make you cry and what can you do about it. It’s a chemical kind of answer. Onions contain complex sulfur compounds. When you cut into an onion, two chemical reactions take place. First cut into an onion releases its enzymes which comes in the form of strong odor. The cutting also releases allicin (sulfur gas) that irritates the eyes nose and mouth and makes you look like a running faucet.

Many a cook has their own method for avoiding those to be anticipated tears while peeling onions. I’m talking everything from wearing scuba goggles to peeling and chopping the onions while holding them under running water (not so easy to do). While the running water trick actually works its not really practical. I have a better suggestion. Put the onion in the refrigerator until it’s very cold and then chop it. Yes, this does take a little bit of prior planning but think of the tissue you’ll save.  Very cold onions seem to have less of an effect on the eyes and nose.

Onions come in a variety of colors, white yellow, and red (or purple), while flavors range from mild and sweet to strong and REALLY strong. Yellow onions are full flavored and work in just about any recipe. The red onion, my favorite, is a good choice when fresh or lightly cooked ones are called for (wonderful for grilling and char-broiling). White onions are typically used for milder dishes.

Most onions are sold loose by the pound, although some types are sold in 5 or 10 pound bags. Look for onions that feel dry and solid all over, with no soft spots or sprouts. The neck should be tightly closed and the outer skin should have a crackly feel and a shiny appearance.

Onions should be stored in a cool, dry open ventilated space away from bright light. Onions absorb moisture so please don’t store them under the sink or near anything toxic. Also, it’s not a great idea to store onions near potatoes because potatoes give off moisture and produce a gas that causes onions to spoil more quickly.

            Like I said, red onions are my favorite and they are available year around. So while the red onion would be my first choice for the follow recipes any color can be substituted.

ITALIAN ZUCCHINI AND RED ONION
Great hot or at room temperature

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices red onion (about 1 large)
2 pounds small zucchini, cut lengthwise into (1/4-inch-thick) slices
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. Combine the olive oil, red onions and zucchini in a bowl. Sprinkle the mixture with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss gently to coat. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a grill rack; grill 4 minutes on each side or until zucchini is tender and vegetables are well marked. Remove zucchini from grill; reduce grill heat to medium-low. Grill onion an additional 5 minutes or until tender. Combine zucchini, onion, and vinegar in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, cheese, and oregano. Serves 4 to 6.

MEXICAN RED ONION SOUP

3 tablespoons of olive oil
6 large red onions thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of oregano, dried, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon of ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
1/3 cup of orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
7 cups of stock
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper

In a stockpot or 5-quart Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes or until softened and slightly colored. Sprinkle the onions with the sugar, oregano, coriander, cumin, allspice and cinnamon; cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the red wine vinegar and orange juice and cook for another 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Adjust the heat so that the mixture simmers gently, cover, and cook 20 minutes longer. Stir in the salt and pepper.

GARLIC WHITE BEANS WITH RED ONIONS AND SPINACH

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 bunches spinach (about 1 pound), washed

2 15-ounce cans white beans (cannellini beans), rinsed and drained

salt to taste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 red onion, peeled, halved and sliced

freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Turn up the heat and cook until the onion turns light brown on the edges.  Lower the heat to medium, add the white beans and cook until the beans are thoroughly heated.  Add the spinach and balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking until the spinach is just wilted. Adjust the seasonings and serve. Serves 4.

RED ONION TART

Delicious warm or cold

3 tablespoons butter

1 lb 10 oz red onions, sliced very thinly

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 fl oz white wine

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)

Salt and pepper

12 oz puff pastry

4 fresh figs, quartered (optional)

walnut oil (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425. Grease a 9 inch tart pan with butter. Slice the onions very thinly. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onions for about 10 minutes until very soft, take care not to brown the onions. Add the wine, vinegar and thyme and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut 2 discs of pastry to the size of the tart dish. Cover the pastry with the cooked onions mixture. Place a disc of pastry over the onion mixture and tuck the edges in. Prick the top of the pastry all over with a fork, (this will allow the steam to escape during cooking and therefore keeps the pastry crisp).  Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until golden and risen. Place a large plate over the tart dish, invert and shake firmly to release the tart. Serve warm with the figs and drizzle with a little walnut oil. Serves 4.

GREEN BEANS WITH CARAMELIZED RED ONIONS

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium red onions (about 1 3/4 pounds), cut into 16 wedges each
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain. Add broth to the onions; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Add the beans, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 8.

RED HOT RED ONION RINGS

Onions:
2 red onions, peeled, cut in 1/4-inch thick slices, separated into rings
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup buttermilk

Seasoned Flour:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons black pepper

Vegetable oil, for frying

In bowl, toss onions with olive oil. Cover; refrigerate 2 hours, tossing twice. Add the buttermilk and mix to coat. Refrigerate an additional 1 hour. In bowl, mix together the flour, cayenne, red pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. Heat 2 inches oil in deep fryer or large pot.

Remove onion rings, a few at a time, from buttermilk mixture; coat them with the flour mixture. Place the coated rings on wax-paper–lined baking sheet. Re-dip coated onion rings, a few at a time, in buttermilk mixture, then in flour, until thickly coated. Fry in batches in hot oil (4 to 6 rings) 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Serve. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

CHICKEN PLUM AND RED ONION KEBABS WITH COUSCOUS

1/2 cup oil

1/3 cup apricot jam

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, quartered

8 plums (about 2 pounds), quartered lengthwise

1 red onion, quartered lengthwise and halved crosswise

1 tablespoon olive oil

One 10-ounce box plain instant couscous

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

In a medium bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, jam, vinegar and soy sauce. Add the chicken and toss to coat; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.  Transfer the marinated chicken to a bowl. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan, boil for 2 minutes, then let cool. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium. Thread the chicken, plums and onion onto 8 skewers. Grill the kebabs, turning occasionally and basting frequently with the marinade during the first 6 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in the olive oil and then the couscous, cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork, add the almonds and toss. Serve the couscous alongside the kebabs.

Note: you can replace the plums with peaches, nectarines or apricots.

GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWISH WITH RED ONION SALSA

Onion Salsa

1 small red onion, cut into 4 slices

1 tomato, cut into 4 slices

6 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

4 dashes red pepper sauce (up to 10)

Salt and ground or cracked black pepper

Sandwich

3 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon black pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves (1-1/4 lb.)

Salt

8 slices Sourdough bread,1/2-inch-thick

1/4 cup Mayonnaise

Assorted baby lettuces

Heat grill. Make the smoky red onion salsa: Grill onion and tomato slices 2 minutes per side. Chop coarsely and transfer to bowl. Stir in the lime juice, cilantro and red pepper sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 2 cups.

In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the chicken. Sprinkle with salt. Grill chicken over medium-hot heat until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Grill bread until golden, 30 to 60 seconds per side. Top 4 bread slices with mayonnaise, lettuces, chicken, then salsa. Top

with remaining bread. Serves 4.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. dutch yellow onions
    Apr 21, 2012 @ 14:22:55

    Wow, awesome weblog layout! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you make blogging look easy. The whole look of your site is magnificent, as well as the content!

    Reply

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