Cipolline in Agrodolce (Sweet and Sour Onions)
Wow, I can’t get over how it felt like just yesterday I was wandering around New York’s winter wonderland, and today it is a gorgeous Spring day. I love this time of year. The restaurants roll out their tables to the sidewalks as New Yorkers gravitate to this much needed outdoor time. The parks fill up with picnickers and readers, and the dogs run around with an extra spring in their step. The city literally wakens up this time of year. I love it!
Yesterday I headed down to the Strand to pick up a summer reading book then headed to Union Square park where I spent the afternoon reading with about 500 of my fellow neighbors. I am still a little unsure about the book I chose–The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, any of you know it and have an opinion?–but I could not have been more content. Within listening distance a man sang on his guitar, dogs walk by excitedly with their owners as they headed to the dog park, and groups of friends came and went around me sharing their excitement of the day. Meanwhile, being Saturday, the Union Square Farmers’ Market was bustling on the side so after a while I headed there to check it out.
I recently started getting Saveur magazine, which I am a bit obsessed with. Okay, really obsessed with. My last issue came this past week and within two days I had already read every single word. My favorite article was one about the simplicity of classic Roman dishes. I already indulged in one of the dishes on Friday evening with a friend at a sidewalk Italian cafe, but my yearning to try more had not yet been satisfied. As I perused the farmers’ market, I spotted the cipolline onions and recalled a recipe that Saveur had featured in this article. Coupled with the fact that I love the sweetness of cipolline onions, it was the perfect buy.
First this recipe gently sautes the cipolline onions. You then add balsamic vinegar with some sugar and raisins and let it reduce to a divine syrupy consistency. The dish is pretty easy to make and would be oh so good with a nice meat dish. I’m thinking pork or chicken would be perfect with it. Me? Oh, I had this as my dinner in itself.
I did find that when I was sauteing the onions, the oil spit a lot. So I suggest that you use a splatter screen to cover the skillet, if possible. Also, my cipollines were a bit large so the cooking time was longer. Just use your judgment and cook them until they have that nice golden look to them. If they appear to be cooking too fast, just lower the heat. Personally I think the slower they cook, the better since this helps the sugars in the onion to develop better. Lastly, for the raisins I used golden ones since I felt they would be more aesthetically pleasing in the dish, but really any color will work.
So here is the recipe from Saveur magazine. This serves 4-6 people.
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs cipolline or pearl onions, peeled
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Put raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let them sit for 30 minutes and then drain.
- In a 12″ skillet (mine was 10″, which was just as good) over medium high heat add the olive oil and onions. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.
- Pour or spoon out the excess oil. Add the raisins, vinegar and sugar. Let reduce until the vinegar reaches a thick sauce consistency. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
- Add salt to taste and serve.