February 23: Onions
Most often used as a spice or condiment, onions also do well as the main ingredient in mid-winter meals. Both red and white varieties are delicious stuffed. Remove onion middles and roast the shells in a covered casserole with a thin layer of water or white wine. When they start to soften, fill them with your choice of stuffing – a mix of goat cheese, greens, stale bread, sage and walnuts is excellent – and roast uncovered until heated through.
French onion soup might be the most well-known recipe where onion is featured as the main ingredient – and for good reason, in my opinion! This page on Next Barn Over Farm’s website has a great recipe for French onion soup, as well as some helpful onion storage/cooking tips and historical and nutritional information.
It’s hard to overdo it with caramelized onions. One onion is often added to a dish to round out the flavor, but try adding more, so their sweet aromatic flavor is the focus of the dish. Local white storage onions are usually very sweet and caramelize especially well. Sliver them and add them to a pan with a few tablespoons of oil, and saute on medium heat for a couple minutes. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and continue sauteing for 20-30 minutes until the onions are very soft, lightly browned, and very tasty.
The caramelized onions can then be eaten by themselves or served piled on top of pieces of French bread. They can also be used on top of polenta, rice and daal, vegetables, salads, or just about anything else you like. Here is a recipe by the Happy Valley Locavore for caramelized onion pizza. You can make better use of the cooking time needed to caramelize the onions by cooking other vegetables in the same pan. Here is a great recipe for caramelized carrots and onions, where the two are cooked together.