Tonight I made my old ye faithful chicken cordon bleu, along with these sweet and sour cipolinni onions. If you've never been a fan of onions, this could be the recipe that changes your mind forever. Cipolinni onions are very different from your "regular" strong and pungent flavored onion. These seem more like a distant cousin since they are mild in flavor and sweet. Take that and drown it in a bath of butter, sugar and balsamic vinegar - the flavors harmoniously blend and taste nothing reminiscent as a member of the dreaded onion family. They were the perfect pairing with the chicken since the chicken was a bit salty from the cheese and prosciutto and the onions had a nice vinegary sweetness from the balsamic glaze. Serve this to company and they'll be in for a treat!
Balsamic Glazed Sweet and Sour Cipolinni
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, original recipe from Mario Batali
2 pounds cipollini or small (1 1/2-inch) onions
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup tomato sauce of your choice (I cheated and used canned. Don’t tell!)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
Blanche the onions in boiling water for one minute and let them cool so that they can easily be peeled. Peel the onions, leaving and washing any root strand you may find.
In a 12 to14-inch saute pan over a medium high flame, heat virgin olive oil until just smoking. Add butter and cook until foam subsides. Add onions and saute until light golden brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. [Batali doesn't mention this but listen to me and my messily-splattered walls, floor, ceiling and arms that still hurt at the thought of it: this will splatter a lot. You either want to use a splatter screen, should you be savvy enough to have one, or a lid. Consider yourself warned.]
Add sugar, vinegar, tomato sauce, water and rosemary and bring to a boil. Cook onions
uncovered covered (again, the splatter effect is such that a lid is worth using) until just al dente, about 10 minutes. If liquid dissipates too quickly, add more water, a 1/4 cup at a time, realizing that it is essential not to overcook the onions. The sauce should just adhere to the onions. Remove from saute pan to an earthenware dish and hold in a warm place, or allow to cool if you are serving them later or as an antipasto.