We spent a Walla Walla wonderful weekend with our friends and family in Eastern Washington last weekend. When the car was finally unloaded on our return, I found myself the proud new owner of three Walla Walla Onions. We went for wine and the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival.
So, tonight I was thinking, what to do with the sweet onions? As wonderful as the sweet onions are, they don’t hold up to much cooking. They would be a sloppy mess for Caramelized Onion Pasta which I will have to post later. Plus, it’s 80 degrees in Seattle. Who wants to cook onions for two hours?
The fact that we are even discussing the merits of onions shows my vegetable maturity. I hesitate to even bring this up, being a food blog of sorts, but I once vomited at the mere suggestion of diced raw onions.
One might say I was spoiled. Until the ripe age of five, my mother removed any raw onions that might dirty my dish. She was a working mother, my father was traveling, and sometimes, she sat us down around the kitchen table with McDonalds. The night in question, I remember, was a tough one for her. She was overwhelmed and tired from her day as a nurse. She scraped the raw onions off one side of my burger and flipped it back on my plate. I was in my usual chair across from Amy, my sister, in her regimental pigtails. I took a bite. “Mommy, there are still onions.” I whined, offering the burger back to her.
“Just eat it, okay.” Her bangs fell around her face as she bit into her burger.
I looked across the table at Amy in her pigtails and halter top, then to Jenny, my older sister, who nodded at me threateningly. I tucked my head in and took a large bite, hoping to make them all proud.
The sulfur of raw onions filled the roof of my mouth, then diffused into my nose. I stared hard at Amy as my tongue seemed to swell, and the saliva evaporated from my mouth. “Ummm, Mommy?” I said. “I think, I’m going to…”
Then, I did it. I blew a McDonalds hamburger across the kitchen table and onto Amy, triggered by the smell and taste of raw onions.
Fast forward thirty five years (the glory of growing up, there is a fast forward button), I overcame my onion issues.
Three onions and I have to make dinner for tonight as well as a dish for meeting up with friends tomorrow for burgers. Here are two recipes worthy of something as wonderful as a Walla Walla Sweet.
Scallops with Walla Walla Sweet Onion and Cherry Tomato Salsa.
1/2 Walla Walla Onion, diced
1 cup halved Sun Golds or whatever Cherry Tomato you have
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried dill or 3 teaspoons fresh dill minced
Couscous, rice, quinoa or whatever prepared grain you like
Combine first 5 ingredients and let macerate for 1/2 hour. If you like spice, can add 1/4 diced jalapeño. Heat grill and sear each side of the scallops for 1-2 minutes. Serve scallops over grain with salsa on top. Serves 2.
Fresh Pickled Walla Walla Onions
2 1/2 Walla Walla Onions halved, then sliced thinly
6 mini peppers, mandolined
1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 star anise
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon mustard seed
2 bay leaves.
Heat vinegar, honey, allspice, mustard, and star anise over high heat. Once boiling, add sliced onions and cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add thinly sliced mini peppers when the onions begin to soften. Pour mixture evenly into 2 pint jars. Serve in the next 2-7 days.