The day before writing this, I saw some beautiful red onions at the grocery store. You may be thinking, “How can an onion be described as beautiful?” I can understand that, after all, look at potatoes - kind of homely at best. But as a person who loves red onions in salad, burgers and sandwiches, the sight of a very large one with no imperfections just causes me to bag it and place it in my cart, even if I don’t actually need another red onion.
Now, this may sound crazy, but for breakfast I had a slice of bread, you know, the type that seems to have 1,000 grains in it. On top of that was a big slice of red onion, topped with slices of avocado. No mayo or any other kind of spread. It was very good. Some homegrown tomato slices would be another great idea. I also think a few alfalfa sprouts would have been a good addition. I ate this open-face, as I am cutting back on carbs for blood sugar reasons, or at least attempting to. If you like red onions as much as I do, it is my hope you find something pleasing in this week’s recipe lineup.
I made this without the mint leaves, so I can’t vouch for what it’s like with them.
Zest and juice from 1 lemon plus more juice for seasoning
2 pounds baby artichokes (or 6 Globe artichokes or 1 pound frozen artichoke hearts, thawed)
2 pounds fava beans, shelled (about 1 cup), or 1 cup frozen edamame beans, thawed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound asparagus (about 1 large bunch), cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1. Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel. Fill a medium bowl with water; add lemon juice. If using baby artichokes, working one at a time, cut away tough outer leaves until only pale-yellow leaves remain. Cut 1/2 inch off tops; trim stems. If you want, you can cut the artichokes in half lengthwise., then remove the choke part by scraping with a spoon. Place in lemon water as you finish. If using globe artichokes, remove stems and all leaves. Scrape out chokes with a spoon; cut each artichoke heart into 4 quarters and add to lemon water.
2. Cook fava beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water; let cool. Peel and discard outer skins (some people, like my mom and sister, prefer to leave them on, but I find them somewhat bitter); transfer to prepared baking sheet (if using edamame, boil for only 1 minute; no peeling needed). Repeat cooking process with asparagus and artichokes, returning water to a boil between batches and cooling in ice water before transferring to prepared baking sheet, 3 to 4 minutes for asparagus and 5 to 6 minutes for artichokes (1 to 2 minutes if frozen).
3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, just until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.
4. Transfer vegetables to a serving bowl. Drizzle with more olive oil; garnish with mint and zest. Makes 6 servings.
Rib-eye steak with charred red onions
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 12-oz. boneless rib-eye steaks, about 1-inch thick, at room temperature
1 large red onion, cut into 1/3-inch thick slices (leave slices whole, not cut in half or separated yet)
1. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the rosemary, dry mustard, garlic powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to make a paste. Rub onto both sides of the steaks. Position a rack about 4 inches from the broiler element. Heat a broiler-safe cast-iron grill pan or skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat until searingly hot (at least 5 and up to 15 minutes).
2. Put the steaks in the hot pan and carefully transfer to the broiler. Broil about 2 minutes per side for medium rare (130 degrees), or until they suit your taste. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest.
3. Brush the tops of the onion slices with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Put in the pan, oiled side up, and broil until lightly charred, about 4 minutes. With tongs, separate the onions into rings, toss, and continue broiling until crisp-tender and deeply charred, about 4 minutes more. Slice the steaks if you like, and serve topped with the onions. Makes 2 to 4 servings.
Grilled lamb patties with marinated red onions
1 1/4 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 clove garlic, pressed or mashed to a paste
6 ounces feta cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 8)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
4 halves of whole-wheat pita bread, warmed
4 thin slices tomato
8 thin slices English cucumber
1. Prepare a medium charcoal or gas grill fire. Clean and oil the grill grates. In a bowl, mix the ground lamb with the paprika, oregano, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Form into four 1/2-inch-thick patties.
2. On a large plate, lay out the slices of feta and sprinkle with the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the dill. In a small bowl, toss the onion with the vinegar, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon dill; allow to marinate for about 15 minutes at room temperature.
3. Grill the lamb patties on one side until they have good grill marks, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until it has good grill marks, too, and the burgers are just light pink inside (make a nick with a paring knife), about 5 minutes for medium.
4. Serve the burgers in the warmed pita halves along with the feta, tomato, cucumber and a heaping teaspoon of pickled onions. Makes 4 servings.
Spinach salad with citrus and red onion
About 4 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach leaves (pre-cleaned in a bag is easiest)
1 can (large or small, your choice) Mandarin orange segments, well drained
1/2 to 1 cup red onion slices
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup sweetened, dried cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (can used glazed ones)
1/4 cup whole salted cashews
1/2 cup chopped tart apple
For citrus dressing:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped red onion
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1. For dressing: Place all ingredients except the poppy seeds in a small bowl with tall sides. Blend with an immersion blender until thickened and smooth. Add poppy seeds and stir to combine. Drizzle some of the dressing over the bed of spinach before adding the oranges to the salad, or just serve the dressing in a small bowl alongside the salad, for individual use.
2. To assemble salad: In a large salad bowl (clear is nice), carefully toss spinach leaves with orange segments, red onion, avocado, cranberries, pecans, cashews and apple.
2. Drizzle desired amount of the citrus dressing over the entire salad, or place into individual serving bowls and serve the dressing on the side. Makes 4 servings.