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Fresh ways with... onions?

Bon Appetit’s De De Wilson gives an international education on onions.
/ Source: msnbc.com

Okay... it’s probably not your first choice when choosing a vegetable. But, the onion is an ingredient that crosses almost every international boundary. Whether you’re dining on Moroccan, Italian, French or Asian food, onions enhance each of these culture’s traditional dishes. Bon Appetit’s De De Wilson gives an international education on onions. Check out her recipes below.

ALSATIAN ONION AND BACON TARTLETS (By Chef Ramon Ost from Sandrine’s in Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Makes 12

Crust (purchased crust can be substituted):

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoons salt

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

6 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Filling:

8 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips

1 1/2 pounds onions, chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

3 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Chopped fresh parsley

For crust:

Blend flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and cut in using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons water and process using on/off turns until mixture forms moist clumps, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Gather dough into ball. Shape into log. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut dough crosswise into 12 equal slices. Roll out each slice on lightly floured surface to 6-inch round. Transfer each round to 4-inch-diameter tartlet pan with removable bottom. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Trim off excess dough. Pierce bottom with fork. Refrigerate 10 minutes. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.)

For filling:

Sauté bacon in large pot over medium heat until brown, about 9 minutes. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings from bacon. Add onions to bacon and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Cool.

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir 2 minutes (do not brown). Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium-high and boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Whisk yolks in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot sauce. Mix in onion mixture, salt, pepper and nutmeg. (Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly then cover and chill).

Preheat oven to 400F. Place tartlets on baking sheet and bake until golden brown, pressing bottom and sides with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 18 minutes. Cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 350F. Spoon filling (about 1/4 cup) into each tartlet. Bake until tops begin to brown, about 20 minutes.

Transfer tartlets to racks and cool slightly. Remove from pans. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


CARAMELIZED ONION DIP You will never make the kind with dry-soup mix again.

Makes 1 1/4 cups dip

Ingredients:

2 cups sliced and chopped yellow onions

3 tablespoons light olive oil

1 cup sour cream, regular, lowfat or nonfat

Salt

Pepper

Herbs de Provence, garam masala

Method: Cook the onions in olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed sauté pan to a rich golden brown, stirring frequently. This will take about 30 minutes; the long, slow cooking brings out the sugars in the onions. Be patient and make sure they become well caramelized.

Cool to room temperature, then fold into sour cream. Season liberally with salt and pepper and either herbs de Provence for a French flavor or garam masala for an Indian flavor.

Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container up to 3 days. The flavor actually improves if it sits overnight. Serve with an assortment of raw and steamed vegetables and chips.


STUFFED ONIONS Onions can be stuffed with a variety of fillings. Use your own favorite

recipes for an Indian inspired curry, an Asian stir-fry, a Spanish chicken and rice or an Italian risotto.

Here are basic guidelines for stuffing an onion:

1. Start with large yellow onions (one per serving), at least 3 1/2 inches to 4-inches across. Peel; slice 1/2-inch off the bottom of the onion so that it will stand up. Slice 1-inch off of the top. Use a melon baller tool or sharp spoon to scoop out most of the flesh leaving a 1/2-inch wall all around making sure not to create a hole in the bottom. If you do, it can be patched with a piece of loose onion before stuffing.

2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add onion shells. Simmer for about 8 minutes or until tender but still holding their shape. Drain on a rack set over a sheet pan. These can be done the day before and refrigerated.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have ready an approximately 2-inch deep casserole dish. Place onions in dish, not touching, and stuff with your favorite room temperature cooked filling. Add a little broth, water or white wine to the dish to come 1/4-inch up the sides of the onions. Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.


Recipes from Bon Appetit magazine. Reprinted by permission. For more recipes and to check out the latest issue of Bon Appetit, you can visit the magazine’s Web site at: www.bonappetit.com