I’d be willing to deliver a month’s worth of breakfasts in bed to anyone who would cut this never-ending dinner party short and show Winter the door. I’d even throw in daily squeezed orange juice if said person wouldn’t hesitate to slam said door, and deadlock it for good measure. We’d all migrate to the living room and slump into the canapé [French for “sofa”] with relief, and 8 months down the road, we’d forget why we unanimously voted to scratch Winter from the annual guest list.
Now that we’ve officially “sprung forward”, I want seasonally-priced asparagus, ramps, green garlic, fiddleheads, and sugar snap peas to be covering my planche à découper [cutting board]. I want to fill half of the compost bin with a pineapple’s pinecone of a hat, rather than with the sticky and stringy guts of a butternut squash. I want to slurp up the runaway trickles from a juicy nectarine…and I want to do it outside, with the sun warming my Vitamin-D deprived face.
But here I am, in a rapidly darkening kitchen, playing with apple cider and onions and half-listening to an annoying cheerful weatherman talk about the 12 inches of snow that are on the way.
At least the not-quite-pint-sized apple cider on my shelf is just darling. If I can’t have spring, I’ll settle for skipping back for one last taste of fall.
Cider is going to sizzle with oil, vinegar, and sugar until it turns into a sticky sweet-and-sour, lick-your-fingers-when-Mom’s-not-looking glaze.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I suppose the cider glaze shouldn’t be the main attraction. There are [sadly] a lot more petite pearl onions than there is glaze.
Have you worked with these little guys already? I think they’re a really nice change from the onion family favorites: Vidalia onions, raw red onions, and slivered scallions.
They’re bite-sized [who can resist?] and significantly sweeter than their siblings. I think it’s worth removing the root ends and dropping them in boiling water for a minute so that they will pop right out of their peels…but this extra step is, well, extra.
Be that as it may, I wouldn’t go tinkering with the rest of the recipe [though I am tempted to experiment with less oil and Stevia in place of sugar next time]. It’s a winner – both the night of and lunches later. Don’t be shy about spooning out some of the glaze that has pooled in the bottom of the bowl!
Recipe [Serves 6]:
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup apple cider
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves [or dried thyme to taste]
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; add onions.
Cook, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes or until soft.
Add cider, vinegar, and sugar.
Stir until sugar dissolves and onions are evenly coated.
Add sea salt and pepper; reduce heat to low.
Simmer, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes or until liquid has reduced to a glaze.
Add thyme, and stir.
Sprinkle with additional sea salt, if desired, and serve warm.
Source: Cottage Living Magazine, November 2005