People in the Mediterranean have been cooking with onions for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians ate lots of onions and even believed they were an aphrodisiac. Maybe that's why they ate so many. The Israelites wandering in the wilderness longed for the onions they ate in Egypt. Too bad they never had the chance to taste OSO Sweet Onions, grown at the foot of Chile's Andes Mountains, where perfect growing conditions produce large, juicy, mild onions with record-high sugar content, crisp texture and mild flavor that doesn't kick back.
Zesty OSO Sweet Onions are in season just in time for the big game-no tickets needed to enjoy them in this hearty, healthy Mediterranean buffet. In Jacksonville, home of this year.s Super Sunday, and elsewhere in Florida, people eat more OSO Sweet Onions than anywhere else in the country. These adaptable onions are mild enough to use raw in salad, versatile enough to sauté, grill, fry or roast. Taste them caramelized atop a delectable onion pizza, and you'll be sure to cheer.
People who avoid ordinary onions go for OSO Sweets because they contain so little pyruvic acid, the substance that causes tears, harshness and indigestion. So, you can use as much onion as you like without tearing eyes or onion breath. Onions are always a winner because they contain naturally occurring phytochemicals that reduce the risk of cancer and help protect against heart disease.
1/2 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 F. Whisk together olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. Toss with vegetables. Arrange vegetables in single layer on baking sheets. Roast 20 minutes, stir and then roast 10 minutes longer or until browned and crusty. Makes 8 servings.
Chef's Tip: To get best brown crust, broil vegetables last 5 minutes of cooking, keeping close eye on them so they don't burn.
Greek Meatballs with Yogurt Sauce
1 pint plain yogurt, preferably whole milk
Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, mint, salt and pepper. Store in refrigerator, up to 3 days. Squeeze excess moisture from bread. Mix together bread, ground meat, onion, egg, oregano, salt and pepper. Form into 6 dozen small meatballs. Heat oil in large skillet. Brown meatballs on all sides at moderate heat. Pour off any fat from pan. Add water to pan and scrape up any browned bits from bottom. Simmer meatballs about 10 minutes or until liquid is syrupy. Serve with toothpicks and dunk into yogurt sauce. Makes 6 dozen small meatballs.
Caramelized Onion Pizza
4 OSO Sweet Onions, sliced
In large skillet, cook onions, thyme, allspice, salt and pepper in olive oil at moderate heat until juices are released. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425 F. Spread onions over dough round, leaving 1-inch border all around. Sprinkle with olives and cheese and bake 15 minutes or until browned and bubbling. Just before serving, sprinkle pizza with sun-dried tomatoes. Makes 8 servings. Chef's Tip: Brush border of pizza with olive oil for shiny brown crust.
Mediterranean White Bean Salad
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Blend oil, vinegar, salt and pepper till smooth and creamy. Drain and rinse beans. Drain again. Toss beans, red peppers, celery, and onion with dressing. Taste for seasoning. Just before serving, toss with parsley. Serves 8.
4 pounds chicken leg quarters (or 4-pound roaster chicken, cut-up)
Preheat oven to 425 F. Drain and rinse chicken, trimming off any excess fat. Pat dry. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Arrange in baking pan and roast 30 minutes, or until juices run clear when pricked at thickest point. Meanwhile, in Dutch oven, heat olive oil and lightly brown onion. Stir in garlic, cook together 2 minutes and add mushrooms and oregano. Continue cooking 5 minutes longer, or until mushrooms have softened. Stir in flour and cook 5 minutes. Add red wine and tomatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken and any cooking juices to pot. Simmer together 10 minutes longer. Serve over steamed white rice. Makes 8 servings.