When I received an e-mail from Zorra of Kochtopf about her latest one-off event, Onion Day, I required no convincing. Having missed her Bread Day event, I immediately set about thinking of a recipe I could try to showcase the onion.

Is there a more versatile, important ingredient in the kitchen than the onion? I suppose one could argue that salt or butter might give the onion a run for its money. Nevertheless, I suspect that virtually every culture and type of cuisine utilizes what I shall from now on refer to as "the workhorse of the kitchen" … the most humble onion.

They’re a member of the lily family, they can be spicy or sweet, and they almost always make me cry. For my contribution to Zorra’s event, I decided to try my hand at onions baked in in their skins. Pics_014_1 I’d had my eye on a recipe in a book I bought earlier this year called Al Forno by Maxine Clark. The book includes a recipe for baked red onions with raisins and capers, in a glaze of white wine and red wine vinegar.

I had shallots and cipolline on hand, and my glaze consisted of champagne and balsamic vinegar with some rosemary thrown in for good measure. Just out of the oven, the onions were tender and the sweet glaze was perfect with the slightly spicy onions. The leftover onions were delicious in a sandwich with cured meats. Wonderfully rustic, this is a quick dish that’s perfect as an accompaniment to any main course.

Zorra, thank you for inspiring us to give onions the the credit they deserve!


Cipolline and Shallots with Champagne and Balsamic Glaze

Adapted from Al Forno by Maxine Clark.

  • 10 to 15 cipolline and shallots, mixed
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup champagne
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • sprig of rosemary
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pics_013_1 Cut a cross in the top of each onion, but do not cut all the way through.
  3. Place the onions in a small baking pan and drizzle with the olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes and then test the onions for doneness by piercing them with a sharp knife. If the knife penetrates the onion easily, they’re done. If not, continue baking until done.
  6. Remove the cipolline and shallots from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Make the glaze while the onions are resting.
  7. Place the champagne and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, throw in the rosemary sprig.
  8. Boil until reduced by half. The mixture should have a syrupy consistency. Remove the rosemary sprig.
  9. Place the cipolline and shallots on a serving plate. Drizzle with the glaze and sprinkle on a bit more salt and pepper. Garnish with the rosemary sprig and serve.
  10. Enjoy!

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