Home & Garden

Dining In: Sweet winter onions promise 'no more tears'

onion recipe

OSO sweet onion salad with onion-orange vinaigrette.

recipes by Karen Diefendorf, Food Editor
Onion lovers don't have to wait until spring to enjoy sweet, mild onions. The OSO onion (pronounced Oh-So), grown in the Andes Mountains of Chile, is now in area supermarkets. Available from mid-December through March, the OSO is described by producers and distributors as "crisp with a mild, subtle aroma, but without fumes and virtually tearless."

OSO sweet onion salad with onion-orange vinaigrette
(Picture and recipe from OSO Onions)
   1 large head Boston or bibb lettuce, torn
   2 c. fresh spinach, torn
   3 large navel oranges
   1 onion, peeled
   3 red apples, cored and diced
   1 star fruit, thinly sliced (optional)
   2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
   4 rounds pita bread, toasted and cut into wedges
   Put torn greens into a large salad bowl. Peel oranges over a medium bowl to catch juices; cut between membranes to section. Reserve juice for vinaigrette and add sections to salad bowl.
   Mince 1/8 of the onion and reserve for vinaigrette. Cut remaining onion into thin slices. Add onion, apple, and star fruit to salad. Garnish with sesame seeds. Toss well with vinaigrette (below) and serve with toasted pita wedges. 6 servings.

Sweet onion-orange vinaigrette
   3 Tbsp. orange juice
   1/4 c. minced sweet OSO sweet onion
   2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
   2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
   2 tsp. honey
   1/3 c. salad oil
   In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, onion, vinegar, mustard, and honey. Gradually whisk in oil until well-blended. Yield: 3/4 cup.

French onion soup
   1/3 c. butter
   5 onions, thinly sliced
   2 Tbsp. flour
   7 c. homemade beef stock, or beef consommÄ plus 2 c. water to make the 7 cups
   1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
   6 slices French bread, toasted
   6 slices Gruyere cheese
   2 Tbsp. grated Gruyere cheese
   2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
   In a heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add onions and saute over very low heat until smooth. Add stock gradually, stirring constantly. Add pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
   To serve, place toasted bread covered with a cheese slice on bottoms of oven-proof soup bowls. Pour hot soup into bowls. Sprinkle with grated cheeses and place under broiler until cheese is melted. Serve at once. Serves 6.

Onion and potato casserole
   8 small to medium red new potatoes, raw, sliced
   6 tsp. olive oil
   2 medium onions, sliced
   Salt and white pepper to taste
   2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
   4 to 6 slices Cheddar cheese
   Parmesan cheese
   In 1 1/2 quart casserole, arrange 1/3 of the sliced potatoes and 1/3 of the sliced onion. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and spread with half of the cheese slices. Repeat layer as before, ending with potatoes. Drizzle top with 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, covered, for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 4.

Onion pie
   1 1/2 c. chopped onions
   4 eggs
   2 c. milk
   8 oz. shredded sharp American cheese
   1 Tbsp. minced pimiento
   1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
   Dash cayenne pepper
   9-inch pie crust
   Bake crust 7 to 8 minutes at 450 degrees until golden. Remove crust and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. While pastry is still warm, fill bottom of pie crust with chopped onion. Beat eggs slightly.
   Blend in milk, 4 ounces of the Cheddar cheese, salt, pimiento, and cayenne pepper. Pour over onions and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Creamed onions
   3 lbs. small white onions
   2 qts. boiling water
   1/4 c. margarine
   3 Tbsp. flour
   1/4 tsp. nutmeg
   1/8 tsp. white pepper
   1 c. heavy cream
   1/2 c. grated Cheddar cheese
   1/2 tsp. salt
   In boiling water, blanch unpeeled onions until outer skins wrinkle. Drain, and when cool, clip off skins and trim root ends. Cook onions in the water, covered, for 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain, reserving water. Melt margarine in sauce pan, stirring in flour, nutmeg and pepper. Add cream, cheese, and 1 cup of the onion water. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until thickened and smooth with no raw flour taste. Check consistency; if too thick, add more onion water a little at a time. Stir in salt and return onions to pan. Heat 2 to 3 minutes in sauce. Pour into serving dish, sprinkle with nutmeg and serve.

Stuffed vegetables
   3 pkg. frozen spinach
   3 eggs
   1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
   1 large onion, finely chopped
   1 - 1 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
   Olive oil, salt, pepper
   6 medium green peppers
   6 medium onions
   Filling:
   Cook spinach, drain and cool. Put in blender or food processor with eggs and blend until well mixed. Put some olive oil in fry pan. Add spinach mixture and chopped onion. Add ground meat (broken into small portions) slowly and cook until done. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gradually sprinkle in Parmesan cheese until mixture thickens. Set aside.
   Cups: Peel and halve onions. Remove the center of each onion half to form a cup. Halve green peppers and scoop out seeds. Parboil the peppers and onions in salted water until just barely tender. Fill each with meat mixture. Arrange in baking dish coated with oil or non-stick spray Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

Broccoli stuffed onions
   3 medium sweet onions
   1 pkg. (10-oz.) frozen chopped broccoli
   1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
   1 Tbsp. red pepper
   1/3 c. mayonnaise (may use reduced-fat)
   2 tsp. lemon juice
   Sauce:
   2 Tbsp. butter
   2 Tbsp. flour
   1/4 tsp. salt
   2/3 c. milk
   1 pkg. (3-oz.) cream cheese, cubed
   Peel and halve onions. Parboil in salted water 10 to 12 minutes. Drain. Remove centers leaving 3/4-inch edges. Chop center portions to equal 1 cup (save any remaining centers for season gravy, sauces, or soups). Drain broccoli and combine with chopped onion and red pepper, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Spoon into the centers of the onion halves.
   To make sauce, melt butter. Blend in flour and salt. Add milk and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and blend in cream cheese. Spoon sauce over onion halves and bake, uncovered at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 6 servings.