Roasted Onions Made Easy
Last weekend at the local Maine farmers market there was a bounty of colorful vegetables that mark the end of the growing season. Eggplant, tomatoes, lettuces, broccoli, and delicate green herbs. Others, like squash, pumpkin, hearty greens, and some root crops will take us through the fall.
The onions were particularly beautiful. There was a wide range of red, yellow, and white onions in every size you can imagine. I purchased a few pounds of yellow onions with the intention of making one of my easiest and favorite onion dishes. This recipe is so useful and delicious. Take about 8 medium onions – they should be fresh and firm – peel them, trim off the tops, and bottoms and cut them into eighths. Toss them in a bowl with a sprinkling of olive oil, making sure they’re lightly coated (not drowned), and sprinkle with coarse kosher salt. If I hadn’t gotten these just-harvested onions, I would add a pinch of sugar. And that’s the beauty of market fresh, they’re sweet like candy.
Place the onions in a roasting pan, cover the pan with foil, and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven. Check them in about fifteen minutes and re-toss. When the onions begin softening remove the foil. It’s fine for some of the onion pieces to be brown, but take care not to allow them to blacken. Oven temps vary, so adjust accordingly.
When the onions are cooked through, they will become fragrant and translucent. This usually takes about 35-45 minutes. Tasting them is the best way to judge their doneness. When they’re ready, remove the pan from the oven and let the onions rest for just a moment. Now drizzle some good quality, aged balsamic vinegar over the hot onions, making sure the vinegar evenly distributed. Go with a light hand because you can always add more. This is where your own taste comes into play. Remember that the flavor will intensify over a few days. Store the roasted onions in a covered container or jar for up to ten days.
I use these onions as a topping on vegetarian “sausages” and mashed potatoes. They’re wonderful on cauliflower and great on sandwiches, hot or cold, with a little mustard. Roasting is such a simple way of bringing out the sweetness of vegetables and a great way to deal with quantity when they’re in season. Check out my other blog for a great tip on sweetening raw onions. Enjoy.