This month I’m in the business of cranking up the oven and filing in sheet pans of chopped vegetables. I’m charring tomatoes and roasting whole garlic. I just went through a pretty serious turnip phase and I can strongly attest to the fact that roasted cauliflower and furikake is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Speaking of furikake – remember that time we made furikake popcorn with Corn Pop cereal? Let’s do that again.
Ok but back to all the vegetables I’m eating. This is not a humble brag – roasting everything in site is just my coping mechanism to warm my body, warm my very soul, hibernate for lunch, and otherwise… DEAL with January. Other winter habits include eating rice pudding straight from the fridge, making lists to plan the rest of my life, and watching old episodes of Teen Mom 2.
Let’s not forget, this is a post about roasted onions. Hahha. Good grief.
This recipe comes straight from the latest Ottolenghi cookbook Flavor.
Ottolenghi make some of the most beautiful, enviable yet somehow approachable food. A few years ago I went to his little cafe in Notting Hill London and my head burst into that heart-eye emoji. It’s dreamy. It had me looking at Notting Hill real estate (until I quickly determined it was waaaay out of reach). Thankfully, I don’t have to move to London because Ottolenghi’s cookbooks are an absolute treasure and require zero moving boxes.
Ottolenghi’s food is so beautiful because he has a masterful way of layering flavors. Admittedly, sometimes the list of ingredients in his cookbook recipes are a little daunting. How many different kinds of chilis do I need?
Today’s recipe is simple: onions (and garlic if you’re feeling fancy), miso, butter, and water. It’s time and temperature that roast these babies to candy.
We’ll start with onions.
Cut the tops off the onions and peel the brown papery skin from the onion.
Keep the bottom/butt/root side in tact while you cut the onion in half lengthwise. Leaving the bottom in tact hold the layers of the onion together as they roast.
Ottolenghi is very specific about using small yellow onions or large shallots to roast. Both seemed rather elusive and I found that this recipe worked just as well with medium yellow onions.
I also cut off the head of two whole garlic cloves and roasted garlic alongside the onions. Where onions are delicious, so is garlic.
Next, let’s mix together the simple sauce.
We have melted butter for richness, white miso for that rich salty and umami kick, and water.
This recipe calls for 4 cups of water. It’s a lot. It makes a lot of sauce. Just whisk until well combined and smooth.
The traditional recipe calls for a 9×13-inch pan. I can’t leave well enough alone and used a giant 12-inch skillet.
The key is arrange the onions cut side down and to fill the pan and the onions until they’re just about covered. Not floating, but almost covered. Cover the pan and roast for a good while (35 minutes).
After the first roast, flip all the onions cut side up and baste them in the sauce before putting the back in the very hot oven.
Repeat this roasting and basting process until the onions are very well browned and the sauce and cooked down to a thin, gravy like consistency. It just gets more and more tender, rich, and delicious as time goes on. The onions roast for an additional hour, basting every ten minutes.
These onions take a bit of babysitting but the result is a buttery-soft, sweet and deeply savory onion candy. They’re delicious served next to a roasted chicken, but also really lovely served over rice and peas. It’s just one of those dreamy dishes made better with time and we’re so thankful.
Other things you might want to roast:
Photos with Sarah Becker.Print
A deeply flavored, buttery-soft onion side dish. A perfect winter dish to serve alongside roasted chicken or over white rice. They make great leftovers too, so it makes for a great meal-prep meal.
- 8 small or medium yellow onions (about 5 1/4 ounces / 150 grams each)
- 7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (100 grams) white or other miso paste
- 1 quart (1 liter) warm water
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Halve the onions lengthwise, discarding the papery skin, as well as the layer beneath if it is tough or dry. Trim the tops and a little off the bottom (not too much—you want to ensure the onion halves stay held together at the base).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, miso, and warm water until fully combined.
- Place the onion halves, cut-side down and spaced apart, in a 9×13-inch (23×33-centimeter) high-sided baking dish or pan and pour in the miso water. The miso water should fill 3/4 of the pan and almost cover the onion halves. If you happen top have a bit of leftover miso water, just reserve for another roast or discard. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and turn the onions over so they are cut-side up (take care to ensure they remain intact). Baste the onions very well, then return to the oven, uncovered, for another 45 to 50 minutes, basting every 10 minutes, until the onions are very soft, deeply browned on top, and the sauce has reduced to a gravy consistency.
- Carefully transfer the onions to a platter, pouring the sauce over and around them, and serve at once with rice or chicken.
- Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.