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June 2007 Issue
by J. Sinclair
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A cousin of garlic, leek, chives, scallions, and shallots, onions are part of the lily family. They are also one of the most important ingredients in your kitchen ... finding their way into everything from salads to soups to side dishes to main courses.

And they have been important through history as well, having been cultivated for at least 7,000 years. Egyptians believed onions had strength-producing powers, therefore, they were fed to labors who built the pyramids. The Romans ate onions to gain strength and courage. Even Alexander the Great ordered his troops to eat onions to improve their vitality.

Maybe Alexander the Great was onto something. Onions are also a source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and folic acid. They also contain calcium, iron and have a high protein quality (ratio of mg amino acid/gram protein). Onions are low in sodium and contain no fat. Even better, they are incredibly versatile and delicious. On that note, here are a few of my favorite recipes featuring them. Enjoy!


Caramelized Onion Pizza

  • 4 sweet onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 pizza dough round
  • 1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
In a large skillet, cook the onions, thyme, allspice, salt and pepper in the olive oil at moderate heat until the juices are released. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the onions over the dough round, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Sprinkle with olives and cheese and bake 15 minutes or until browned and bubbling. Just before serving, sprinkle the pizza with the sun-dried tomatoes.

  • Yields: 8 slices
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes

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