One can hardly think of a more eternally versatile vegetable than
the onion. Archaeological and literary evidence suggests cultivation
probably took place in ancient Egypt, at the same time that its cousins
leeks and garlic were cultivated. Ancient Egyptians worshipped it,
believing that its spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized
eternal life. In the Middle Ages, onions were such an important food
that people would pay their rent with onions, and even give them as
gifts. Native Americans used wild onions in a variety of ways, eating
them raw or cooked, as a seasoning or as a vegetable. Such onions were also used in syrups, as poultices, as an ingredient in dyes and even as toys. Far from losing their popularity or versatility, today's recipes cover the gamut of savory dishes. They contain chemical compounds believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol, anti-cancer (particulary head and neck), and antioxidant properties.
Roasted Onion with Herb Butter Sauce
4 medium yellow onions, peeled, trimmed
1/4 cup packed fresh herbs (sage, thyme, oregano or marjoram)
1/4 cup butter
Place onions in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake at 400 degrees F for one hour or until onions are tender.
While onions are roasting, prepare this simple herb butter sauce. Trim leaves from fresh herbs such as sage, thyme, oregano or marjoram. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the fresh herbs and stir until butter begins to brown and the herbs are crispy. Be careful not to burn butter or herbs!
When onions are soft, remove from oven and carefully cut in half from top to bottom. Serve with herb butter sauce. Makes 8 servings
Pan Fried Onion Slices
2 large onions (9 to 11 ounces each), peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon oregano, crushed
Pepper to taste
Pan-fry onion slices in large skillet 8 to 10 minutes or until onions are tender; turn halfway through cooking time. Sprinkle slices with cheese, oregano and pepper and heat until cheese melts. Makes 4 servings.
3 cups narrowly wedged white onions
2 cups julienne cut green, red and yellow bell peppers
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
Toss onion wedges and julienne peppers with Italian dressing, basil and pepper. Marinate in refrigerator overnight. Serve over steak, chicken, with pasta or whatever your heart desires!