Tag Archives: cipollines

Five Onion Confit

I grew up expecting to have to eat the onions on my plate whether I wanted them or not. That’s just how it went at our house, and I didn’t question it.  Good thing I’ve always liked them.   Although I remember my mother telling me my grandfather liked a good onion sandwich, we had them sliced and in salads — mostly yellow onions because they were a staple — but scallions were included once in a while, along with red onions.  Now that I think of it, red onions made their appearance when we lived in Spain because they were served in the cafes, often included with cucumbers and tomatoes in a very light water and red wine vinegar marinade.  No lettuce, just a sprinkle of salt.  It was wonderful.

Onions were chopped and fried in bacon fat for the liver my mother enjoyed so much, and as much as I didn’t want a taste of the liver, I could sit all day and inhale the aroma of those onions.  Chopped onions went into simple spaghetti sauce to flavor it, or in goulash along with other vegetables and pasta, because it didn’t seem right to not have them in the mix.  My mother’s meatloaf wouldn’t be meatloaf without chopped onions.  They were quartered and added to our Sunday pot roast with carrots and celery as well, but I didn’t appreciate their flavor in the braise.  Perhaps it was the sweetness — something I expected in the more predictable foods kids enjoy — not an onion.  I still had to eat them. I liked them best raw on burgers, or a salami sandwich, the crunch and sharp spike of flavor something that was definitely missed if it wasn’t included.

Maybe it was the onion soup my father made one year before a holiday dinner.  I’m surprised I don’t remember the details of his making it, but the flavor of those long cooked onions nestled in a rich broth gave me a different perspective on just how unique the sweetness of caramelized onions could be.  I’d never had onion confit, though, and wondered just how different it might be.  Would the sweetness that it took me years to appreciate be more intense and if it was, would I enjoy it?  Based on many of the recipes I’ve come across where onion confit or jam is included, I’m thinking yes.

But would one type of onion suffice?

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3-Onion Leek Tart

3-Onion and Leek Tart Time has just flown by lately and with it, my opportunities to not only write as much as I have, but cook the way I’ve always enjoyed cooking — experimenting with new recipes.  Since coming back from Mexico, I’ve been mulling over an opportunity that has taken on a life of its own and me with it.  For the next year or so, I’ll be out of the house again for most of the day so will have to learn to adjust to writing here in the time I have left.  I know there are many of you who do this successfully, so I’ll look to you for inspiration and perhaps a schedule!  By all means, share your secrets with me so I can find a good balance.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a tart I made recently inspired by yet another tart made with some lovely vegetables from Specialty Produce. Although the brief and somewhat elusive season for ramps is close to ending (April – May) , I was able to sample them for the first time.  Ramps are wild leeks harvested by foraging in wooded, mountainous areas, and from what I’m learning, quite the reason to celebrate since they’re a sign of spring.  Ramps are a member of the allium family, so I decided to sample them with green garlic and shallot shoots knowing that whatever I ended up making would be delicious.  Unfortunately, the first tart was prepared for a dinner party, and since I’m challenged to find a way to shoot great photos while entertaining, I decided to recreate the tart using a different collection of vegetables from the onion family.

Because I was home alone that evening, I was thrilled not to have to share this amazing tart with anyone.

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