Well that’s what Jamie Oliver says and after making these I have to agree with him! I love using onions but for the most part they’re usually mixed in with other ingredients so it’s nice to have them shine on their own. Onions, are members of the Allium family (garlic, shallot, scallion), and are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects. Studies have shown that onions can help increase bone density and there is evidence that women who have passed the age of menopause may be able to lower their risk of hip fracture through frequent consumption of onions. Onions should be firm and heavy for their size. Avoid onions that have sprouted or that have an odor, or that have green or moldy blemishes. If you’re eyes water while cutting onions, try chilling them first, then peeling them under running water (water absorbs the onion’s gas).
adapted from Jamie Oliver, Happy Days with the Naked Chef
4 white onions (about the size of a tennis ball), peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, lower leaves picked and chopped
8 tablespoons heavy cream
grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 slices pancetta or 4 slices bacon
Preheat the oven to 200c (400°f). Boil the onions in plenty of water for 15 minutes or until slightly tender. Remove the onions from the pot and allow to cool. With a sharp knife, remove the top inch of each onion, finely chop and place to one side. Slightly trim the stalk end of the onions so that the onions will sit flat on a roasting tray. Taking care to keep the outside of each onion intact, cut about a heaped tablespoon of onion out from the inside of each onion. Finely chop these removed sections of the onion and add to the rest of the chopped onion.
Heat a sauté pan and add a little olive oil, garlic, chopped onions, and a little of the chopped rosemary. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the garlic and onion have softened. Turn the heat down, add the cream and remove the onions and garlic from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and season. Wrap a slice of pancetta or bacon around the middle of each onion and spike it in place with a sharpened twig of rosemary or a wooden toothpick. Place the onions on a roasting tray and spoon some of the chopped onion mixture inside each one. Bake in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes until the onions are soft and tender.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: These were scrumptious and as the onions were baking, the aromas coming from the kitchen reminded me of potato scallop…yum! Serve this as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to the main meal. Enjoy!