Onions Are The Unsung Heroes (Part 1) - Spring onion confit with gorgonzola soubise, Luke's onion rings

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 “Can you imagine a life without onion? Mealtimes would be monotonous, dishes dreary and every menu a minefield. So, let’s pay homage to the humble bumble bulb with recipes so delicious they’ll make you weep” .

Onions are the unsung heroes of the kitchen: virtually everything you eat in a good European restaurant will be somehow underpinned with an onion. The basis of all cream sauces and jus, soups, broths and stocks, the unassuming bulb is the ultimate flavor-builder. One of the biggest lessons I learnt as a fledgling chef was to add seasoning and herbs while sweating the onions – this, ladies and gentlemen, is the precise moment during preparation that you have the best chance of adding a big kick of flavor.

There’s probably only been three big breaks for the deceptively versatile bulb. The first was the invention of French onion soup, a supremely comforting winter dish made with a ton of finely sliced onions and a good beef stock, and crowded with a crisp cheese crouton. The second was the birth of the ubiquitous onion ring, without which no self-respecting burger would be caught dead. And the third, and most recent, took place early in my career and had me totally floored when first tasted it in Australia: red onion marmalade. Soft, sticky and sweet, it’s given pates, terrines and the ploughman’s platter a brand-new lease on life.

Recently, I’ve become quite fanatical about extracting as much as I can from the onion. I have an elaborate dish on the menu at the moment that comprises a set duck-liver custard served with a “variety of onions”: a shallot-and-sherry relish, charred spring onions, confit baby onions… even powdered onions have a walk-on role. Imagine all the natural caramelized sweetness you could wish for… sublime! Here, I’ve put together a few equally exciting dishes, each of which demonstrates the mighty prowess of this beautiful bulb.”

Spring onion confit with gorgonzola soubise

Serves 4

A little effort

Great value

Description: Description: Spring onion confit with gorgonzola soubise

Spring onion confit with gorgonzola soubise

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking: 45 minutes

·         Purple spring onions 8

·         Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

·         Baby onions 8

·         Garlic 1 bulb, halved width ways

·         Rosemary 1 large sprigs

·         Sage leaves 8

·         Bay leaves 4

·         Butter 80 g

·         Balsamic vinegar 3 T

·         Water 2 T

·         Baby leaves, to garnish

For the Gorgonzola soubise:

·         White onions 300 g, finely sliced

·         Butter 40 g

·         Bay leaves 2

·         Fresh thyme 4 sprigs

·         Sea salt, to taste

·         Cream 2 cups

·         Gorgonzola 150 g

  1. Preheat the oven to 1500C. Rinse the spring onions well under running water. Dry with a clean tea towel and season. Peel and halve the baby onions and place them, and the spring onions, on large sheet of tin foil, along with the remaining ingredients, except for the vinegar, water, and baby leaves.
  2. Fold up the sides of the tin foil add the water and balsamic vinegar and seal. Bake for 30 minutes, for until the onions are soft.
  3. Transfer to a pan and reduce the liquid over a medium heat until the liquid emulsifies and thickens slightly, about 15 minutes.
  4. Gently heat the soubise and spoon onto a plate. Scatter over the onions and sauce and garnish with the baby leaves.
  5. To make the Gorgonzola soubise, sweat the onions in the butter with the herbs and a good sprinkling of salt. Add the cream and bring to the boil. Simmer until slightly thick. Blend well, adding the Gorgonzola while blending. Adjust the seasoning and strain.


Wine: Axe Hill Cape White

Luke’s onion rings

Serves 4


Great value

Description: Description: Luke’s onion rings

Luke’s onion rings

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 15 minutes

·         Free-range egg white 1

·         Rice flour ½ cup, plus extra for dusting

·         Water ½ cup

·         Spanish or white onions 2, sliced to a thickness of ½ cm

·         Vegetable oil, for frying

·         Sea salt

  1. Whisk the egg white, rice flour and water, but not too smoothly.
  2. Dust the onion rings in rice flour then pass through the batter.
  3. Deep-fry in the hot oil for 4 to 6 minutes, or until light golden and crunchy. Serve scattered with sea salt.

Meat-free, wheat- and gluten-free

Wine: Sterhuis Unwooded Chardonnay 2011

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