On June 27, 1913 in Kenton, Ohio, a group of five onion growers created the NOA (National Onion Association) Their creation was “for the purpose of gathering and disseminating information relative to onion culture and the improvement of methods of onion growing.”
On June 27, 2013 the NOA marked 100 years since it’s creation, with nearly 500 onion growers, shippers, packers and associated members across the country. Two years later, the NOA proclaimed Nation Onion Day to be observed annually on the 27th of June.
We have come to count on the onion for enhanced flavor in some of our favorite savory recipes. Onions pair well with meats, added an extra bite to salads, and is an expected garnish for hot dogs or bowls of spicy chili. It should come as no surprise that the Onion Industry is a $6 billion dollar business that generates economic growth year after year.
One of my favorite sides to serve with dishes such as French Country Forty-Clove Garlic Chicken is Braised Red Onions. This dish is as versatile as the onion itself, great as a side or easily transformed into a Crostini for a fun addition to your hors d’oeuvre table.
Here’s to National Onion Day – enjoy!
Olive-Oil Braised Red Onions with Bay Leaves
1 1/2 lbs Red onions (about 3 medium)
3 fresh or dried bay leaves, each torn into 3 pieces
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon dry white wine (a nice Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
Position oven rack in center, heat oven to 375-degrees.
Tear bay leaves into thirds, set aside until ready to use. Peel red onions, cut in half vertically, then cut into 2/3-inch wedges.
Arrange the onion wedges in an overlapping single layer in a shallow 10×15-inch baking dish. Nestle the bay leaves among the onions. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, vinegar, white wine, and 1-1/2 tablespoon water and drizzle over the onions. Sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon salt. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Braise the onions in the oven until completely tender when pierced close to the root ends with a fork, about 45 minutes.
Uncover the dish and continue to braise until all of the liquid has evaporated and the onions are darkly roasted and glossy, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve the onions warm or at room temperature.
As a Crostini
4 oz Camembert or Brie Cheese
Heat broiler element of oven.
Slice baguette into rounds. Brush with olive oil on both sides.
Place in the oven, about 5-inches from heat source. Prop door open and keep an eye on the bread. Toast until lightly browned, about 2 or 3 minutes.
Spread soft cheese on the toasted baguette slices, top with some onion. Arrange on a platter, serve and enjoy.