Sweet and sour baby onions
- Gluten Free
- Difficulty: Very easy
- Prep time: 5 min
- Cook time: 40 min
- Serving: 4 people
- Cost: Low
A side dish that’s simple but that makes a big impact and is capable of bringing out the taste of the dish it’s accompanying: sweet and sour baby onions! A great classic of Italian culinary tradition, ideal for serving warm or at room temperature, perhaps as an appetizer along with some mature or semi-mature cheeses. The pungent note from the vinegar is softened by the sweetness of the sugar, while the addition of butter makes the glaze particularly silky smooth. The result is a dish with a deliciously balanced flavor, which will become even better if you try it the following day. Think onions aren’t “romantic” enough to have earned a place on the table? Well, the celebrated Chilean poet Pablo Neruda even wrote an ode to this vegetable, where he defines it as “destined to shine”... even in your dishes!
How to prepare Sweet and sour baby onions
To make the sweet and sour baby onions, pour the raw sugar 1 and water 2 into a pot. Melt the sugar over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, then add the butter 3.
Wash 4 the onions and season with salt 5 and pepper. Once the butter has melted, add them to the pot. Cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat, stirring often to cover them evenly in the glaze 6.
Now add the vinegar 7. Let the strong smell of the vinegar evaporate without letting the liquid dry up 8, then add the thyme 9.
Cover the pot with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally 10; if it goes dry or starts to take on too much color, you can add a little water. After this cooking time is up, check whether the onions are tender 11; if you’d like a more buttery consistency, you can cook them for another 10 minutes. To make the glaze thicker, you can add a knob of cold butter at the end of the cooking time. Your sweet and sour baby onions are ready to go 12!
To make the sweet and sour baby onions even nicer, we recommend letting them rest and serving them at room temperature or warm. Ideally, you should make them a day ahead. You can keep them in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container.
Instead of raw sugar, you can also use white sugar and increase or reduce the amount according to your taste.
If you prefer to use honey, bear in mind that it will release a slightly bitter note during cooking, so we recommend choosing a variety with a delicate flavor, such as wildflower or acacia honey. Otherwise, you can make the sweet and sour baby onions with slightly less sugar and glaze them at the end with a spoonful of honey: In this case, you can also use a honey with a stronger flavor, such as chestnut or orange blossom honey.
You can also use white wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. Red wine vinegar will give you a different result in terms of color and flavor, but not unpleasant. Balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, will give the glaze a particular aftertaste and is better suited to other recipes, such as caramelized red onions, for example.