Evan Kleiman, who takes over for Laura Avery who is on holiday in France, shops for shallots and cipollini onions, which are both in their full flavor this time of year. Evan likes to braise them both, whole, in orange juice or balsamic vinegar.
Cipollini Braised in Orange Juice
2 lbss of cipollini or pearl onions of similar size, about 28
1 ½ cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
Grated peel of 1 orange
½ cup of olive oil
Course salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, stemmed and roughly chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and refresh the onions under cold running water. Peel and trim the root end, but leave the root intact or the onions will fall apart. Combine the onions, orange juice, grated peel, olive oil and salt in a saucepan. Cook until the onions are tender yet crisp, testing for doneness with the tip of knife. Transfer to a gratin dish and bake in a preheated 400ºF oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the onions are soft and golden. Taste for salt. Just before serving, grind pepper over the onions and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature.
Roasted Shallots in Balsamic Vinegar
Serves 6 to 8
4 medium shallots, unpeeled
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
Coat the unpeeled onions generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them in a roasting pan just large enough to hold them. Roast the onions in a preheated 375ºF oven for 1 hour or longer depending on the size of the onions. They should be soft to the touch. Remove the onions from the pan and let cool slightly. Cut in half through the root end and arrange on a platter, cut-side up. To deglaze the roasting pan, add the vinegar and place the pan over medium heat. Boil the vinegar for a few minutes, scraping the caramelized onion juices off the bottom of the pan. Reduce the liquid until it is syrupy and dark, glossy brown. Spoon a little of the thickened liquid over the onions, completely coating the cut surfaces. Let them cool.
Recipes courtesy of Viana La Place & Evan Kleiman's Cucina Fresca.
Music break: La Golondrina by Al Caiola