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Cippolini Onions with Balsamic and Cream

This is a favorite side dish that we always serve at Thanksgiving—and again at Christmas—because it’s so good, you have to have it at least twice. The onions are in season right now, and can be found locally either at Berkeley Bowl, or at any farmers market that Happy Boy Farms comes to. These are flat, generally small onions, that are extremely pungent raw (you really can’t eat them raw they’re so strong) but sweet and mellow when cooked.

Yield: 4 servings

  • 8-12 cippolini onions, depending on size (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Cut the root from each onion, and with a small sharp knife, cut out the stem end, then peel the onions. Leave whole.

Warm the butter in a frying pan large enough to hold the onions in a single layer. Add the onions, and over medium low heat, brown each side for a few minutes, so that there is some brown on each side of each onion. This should take about 5 minutes. Season the pan with salt and pepper (about ¾ tsp. salt and several good grinds of pepper).

Add the balsamic, and let sizzle until it’s just about gone—then pour in the cream. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, and turn the onions, Cover again, cook an additional 2-3 minutes, then remove the cover. Let the onions simmer until tender, adding a bit of water if they start to get too dry. Once they are tender, they are ready to serve. Taste first and adjust the seasonings.