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A&E >  Food

Walla Walla Sweets Delicious Any Way You Have Them

By Rick Bonino Food Editor

What’s the best way to eat a Walla Walla Sweet onion?

Raw, agree growers Mike Locati and Larry Arbini.

Locati likes to slice Walla Walla Sweets and garden-fresh cucumbers and toss them with vinegar and oil, or Italian dressing.

“One guy was telling me he takes a piece of bread, slices the onions 1/2-inch thick, puts peanut butter and mustard on it and eats it that way,” he adds.

Arbini also prefers his onions in sandwiches, particularly hamburgers, but they have to be cold.

“You’ve got to chill them,” he says. “To me, eating an onion warm is like drinking warm pop.”

Wrapped in tinfoil, the onions will keep refrigerated for several weeks, Arbini says.

Another storage trick is dropping the onions, one at a time, into the legs of clean pantyhose, tying a knot between each one. (Keeping them separated reduces the risk of rotting.) Hang in a cool location, and snip the onions off as you need them.

But the quicker you eat the onions, of course, the better they’ll be. Here are some other ideas for using the glorious globes.

Walla Walla Sweet Onion Pizza

An easy recipe from chef Jacques Boiroux, a Seattle television personality, courtesy of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee.

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 Walla Walla Sweet onions, sliced

1 tablespoon garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1/2 cup tomatoes, diced

12 black olives, pitted and halved

1/2 pound frozen bread dough, thawed

8 anchovy fillets, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large skillet, warm the olive oil. Add onions, garlic and thyme; cook until golden brown. Add tomatoes and olives and cook for 5 more minutes.

Roll bread dough into a circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush a pizza pan with olive oil and dust with flour. Place dough on pan. Spread onion/tomato mixture evenly on top, right to the edge of the dough. Top with anchovies, if using.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings.

Minted Onions

A simple side salad or condiment recipe from chef Kaspar Donier, of Kaspar’s Restaurant in Seattle, courtesy of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Marketing Committee.

2 medium Walla Walla Sweet onions

20 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

Peel onions and slice 1/8 inch thick. Mix with chopped mint and vinegar and chill for 30 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.

Walla Walla Sweet Onion Confit

A tasty accompaniment to grilled steak, chicken or lamb, from “Wandering & Feasting - A Washington Cookbook,” by Mary Houser Caditz (Washington State University Press, 1996).

2 large Walla Walla Sweet onions, peeled and sliced

1 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine onions, stock, butter, salt and pepper. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring to break up onion rings. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring twice. Onions should be soft, but not mushy.

Uncover, add mustard, and continue cooking until liquid is almost absorbed, about 5-10 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Walla Walla Sweet Onion Salad With Tomatoes and Basil

From “Wandering & Feasting - A Washington Cookbook,” by Mary Houser Caditz (Washington State University Press, 1996).

3 large ripe tomatoes

1 large Walla Walla Sweet onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

5 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/4 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese

1/4 cup shredded fresh basil

If desired, peel tomatoes by immersing in boiling water for 7 seconds, then cooling under cold tap water and peeling off skins.

Cut tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, on a platter.

Peel onion and cut into 1/8-inch slices. Separate into rings and arrange over tomatoes.

Combine vinegar, oil and salt in a bottle or jar with a lid, and shake to combine. Drizzle over tomatoes and onion rings. Grind pepper over salad, to taste, and sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Simply Baked Walla Walla Sweets With Pesto

From “The Onion Book,” by Jan Roberts-Dominguez (Doubleday, 1996), this is a delicious with grilled meats or pasta with a meat-and-tomato sauce.

2 Walla Walla Sweet onions

1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice a thin portion from the top and bottom of each onion, then slice each unpeeled onion in half, horizontally (through the widest part). Place onions, cut side up, in a baking dish and spread each half with 2 tablespoons pesto. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the onions are tender and the pesto is slightly browned and bubbly.

Yield: 4 servings.

, DataTimes

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