Preparing Onions Four Ways

Onions are one of the most commonly used vegetables in cuisine. We grow a lot too and there are many different varieties to suit palettes and create interesting sensory appeal with dishes. I’ve titled this ‘onions four ways’ because it shows what is possible with onion as sides for various dishes. I must however acknowledge Brin from Bristol on Masterchef UK (Series 20, episode 1, 2024) who cleverly came up with this combination as part of his opening dish. These were used to showcase his vegetable; onion. The pork loin he used was the focal point but this combination of four ways stole the show. I’ve also separated the two main dishes out because these are also for veg/vegetarian cooks too.

White Onions Braised in Miso Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 large white onions, peeled and halved
  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, cut side down, and cook until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the miso paste, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, and sugar until smooth.
  3. Pour the miso sauce over the onions in the skillet. Add the vegetable broth, covering the onions halfway.
  4. Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until the onions are tender and the sauce has thickened.

Spring Onion Puree

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped spring onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the sautéed spring onions to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, adding a little water if necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Crispy Shallot Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Toss the thinly sliced shallots with flour until evenly coated.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the coated shallots and fry until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the crispy shallots to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread them out evenly and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, or until fully crispy. Season with salt to taste.

Pickled Shallots

Ingredients

  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt dissolve.
  2. Place the thinly sliced shallots in a heatproof jar or bowl. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the shallots, ensuring they are fully submerged.
  3. Let the pickled shallots cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Assembly

  1. Spread a dollop of the spring onion puree onto each serving plate.
  2. Place a braised white onion half on top of the puree.
  3. Sprinkle the crispy shallot granola over the onions.
  4. Garnish with pickled shallots and slivers of spring onion.
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