Ingredient SpotLight

Related to the lily, this underground bulb is loved for its pungent flavor and odor and the creativity is can bring to dishes from all over the world. There are two main classifications of onion: green onions (also called scallions) and dry onions, which are simply mature onions with a juicy flesh covered with dry, papery skin.

Dry onions come in a wide range of sizes, shapes and flavors. Among those that are mild flavored are the white or yellow Bermuda onion, available March through June; the larger, more spherical Spanish onion, which is usually yellow skinned (but can be white) and in season from August to May; and the red or Italian onion, which is available year-round.

Onions can be stored in cool, dry places with good air circulation for up to 2 months (depending on their condition when purchased). Humidity breeds spoilage in dry onions. Once cut, an onion should be tightly wrapped, refrigerated and used within 4 days.

Onions should be dry and hard. Avoid onions with wet necks, this indicates decay. Also, avoid onions that have sprouted. Onions can be stored at either room temperature or refrigerated. If you need only half of an onion, use the top half. The root will stay fresh longer in the refrigerator.

And now, without further delay, here are a couple great onion recipes for you to enjoy.

Balsamic Roasted Onions

  • 4 large onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Slice the tops off of the onions and peel, leaving root ends.

Cut each onion into 8 wedges, taking care to slice through the root so the wedges stay intact.

Place the onions in a single layer in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and toss with the olive oil.

Pour the balsamic vinegar over the onions and sprinkle them with the salt.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the onions are almost tender.

Uncover the dish and bake for another 8 minutes or until the onions are soft and caramelized on the bottom.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

French Onion Soup

  • 4 small onions
  • 2 cups butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Salt and cayenne pepper
  • Slice of French bread
  • Swiss cheese

Cut the onions into half rings, then roast them in the butter, slowly adding the flour.

Add the water, wine, broth, salt and pepper and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.

Pour the soup into an ovenproof soup bowl, then top it with the French bread and Swiss cheese.

Bake until the cheese is melted, then serve immediately.

  • Yields: 1 serving
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes