Think in taste, appreciate the ordinary

Know your onions part 1

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1. It comes in colours everywhere

Onions are of all times, of all cuisines. And as it goes, they come in various shapes and colors. 

Half of all the onions in the world come either from China or India. While the word’s biggest consumers are the Tajikistani, with a whopping yearly 60 kg per person. Especially when the world average is little less than six kilos.

Adding onions is normal. Giving it a lead role is more audacious. And interesting. Let’s have a look.

united colours of onions

2. Voilà la soupe

soupe d'onion

French onion soup is a true icon. The Romans merely boiled their onions. The French gave it shape. First of all by serving it in a ramekin. And instead of water, they use fine beef broth. How not to mention that crust? Broiled cheese and croutons.

The origins are uncertain. Some claim it was an emergency dish concocted for a hungry hunting king Louis XV. The pantry of the hunting lodge had but butter, onions and champagne. Champagne? Right…

It appears in Appert‘s 1831 cookbook. And it was popular as a hangover cure. Hence the name, the drunkard’s soup.

Sampolo 246 - Cultori del Gusto

3. Sweet sour onions

Sicilians sure like their sweet sour preparations. And onions are inseparable. Perhaps the most iconic example comes with fresh tuna.

There are many ways to prepare sweet sour tuna. And all use onions, vinegar and sugar. It’s when to add them and in what quantities that differs.

Sweet sour tuna usually comes as a cold dish. And the longer it sits, the tastier it gets. Try it on a sandwich and have a glimpse of what paradise looks like.

sweet sour tuna

4. Pasta with onions

pasta with onions

Pasta with onions is not amongst Italy’s classics. But therefore not a bad dish. You need nice red onion to prepare this pasta. The hardcore version ask for nothing else. A dusting of grated cheese, maybe. It is not an easy dish to prepare. Having only one ingredient, the cook is very exposed. The slightest mistakes sticks out like a sour thumb.

Adding sausage or bacon is licit and rather popular. Also because it draws people’s attention away from the  single ingredient. 

5. Sweet onion jam

Yes indeed, onions make a good jam. Italians often use it to accompany cheese platters. An iffy habit that inundated the country some years ago. The sweetness does contrast with seasoned cheese, but is there need for contrast? Specially when cheese comes with wine, things get complicated.

This jam is though pleasantly surprising. Alone or in company. Excellent with pork and white meat. Though any kind of onion goes, Italians prefer the Tropea ones. An excellent red variety that is particularly sweet. Recipe.

sweet onions

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