2 Apr 2014

The deliciousness of the vanishing onions

Image for Roasted red onions with basil
With thanks to the BBC

You'd only have to see them to be convinced. If you'd tasted them you'd be in raptures. How many times have I meant to take a photo and only remembered after the dish has been demolished? But better demolished than untouched, or just fiddled with. So here's one I didn't make earlier, courtesy of the BBC.

Nigella is the woman to thank or to blame. Her roasted red onions with fennel, balsamic vinegar and fresh basil are one of the most satisfyingly surprising successes in my culinary adventures.

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I served them with a beef casserole, sweet and white potato mash and green beans tossed in olive oil and softened chopped garlic. I think they'd go well with any main course meat. And fabulously with anything barbecued. 

Beware believing every Google link for this recipe: there's one that involves gallons of vinegar, treacle and oil (well, 200ml, 125ml and 50ml respectively). This is what you do need:

From Nigellissima by Nigella Lawson

Serves 6-8 as part of a meal

1kg red onions (preferably small) quartered then peeled
125ml olive oil
1tsp fennel seeds
1tsp sea salt flakes or ½ tsp pouring salt, or to taste
1 tsp best quality balsamic vinegar, or to taste
Large bunch (approx 90gm)n fresh basil

Preheat oven to 200C.

1. Tip the quartered onions into a roasting tin, pour the olive oil over them, then scatter with fennel seeds, tossing the onions in the tin to coat them thoroughly; then put the tin in the oven for 1 hour, by which time the onions should be soft and cooked through.
2. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the salt and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the onions, then toss them gently and leave (for up to 1 hour) to come to room temperature, though you can eat this hot if you prefer.
3. On serving, add the basil leaves, torn from their stems, and toss again, seasoning to taste. There is a lot of basil, but think of it as a salad leaf, here, not mere decoration.

I swapped the balsamic vinegar for balsamic glaze and highly recommend it. I also only used about 80/90ml of olive oil. And if you're intimidated by the quantity of basil just use less. But it is a delicious combination both for the eyes and the taste buds.