Saturday, September 10, 2011

cipolline in agrodolce

I promised you I had one more Roman peasant dish to tell you about, and here it is. Sweet and sour onions, or, in the mother tongue, cipolline in agrodolce. Agrodolce, according to wikipedia, is just a sweet and sour sauce-- the sweet "dolce" component usually being sugar and the sour "agro" element being some sort of vinegar. If you'll recall, we first made an agrodolce sauce for pork chops, using honey and balsamic. Here, it was balsamic and sugar.

Even with the fancy sounding name, an agrodolce sauce is actually really easy to make, and the most difficult part of cooking this recipe is peeling all the little cipollinis. It's not hard per say, just time consuming and a definite pain in the ass. Before you start peeling away, throw your raisins in some hot water so that they'll rehydrate and get nice and plump.

To cook these, you simply saute the peeled onions for about ten minutes over medium high heat until golden brown. Then you add the raisins, balsamic, sugar, and a little salt, and cook for another three minutes or so, until the sauce thickens.

What you are left with is some gorgeously glazed, tender onions and juicy raisins. Very very nice. If you like onions, these are like tangy onion candy. Nathan was particularly impressed by how good this recipe turned out.

I also cooked this beautiful broccoli rabe.

I had never seen such pretty flowery greens before this year, but I definitely noticed several similar veggies at the market this spring. I guess they overwintered greens or something? I'm not sure what the deal is, but they sure are pretty looking, and these were typically delicious sauteed with olive oil and garlic, sprinkled with plenty of grated cheese.

I don't remember what we ate with these two dishes; so it must have paled in comparison to these flavorful veggie sides. Fresh produce often plays second fiddle to meat, but unusual and unexpected recipes like cippollini onions with raisins and flowery, garlic-y broccoli rabe serve to show just how brightly your vegetables can shine if you give them center stage.

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