Ode to an Onion

>> Sunday, May 8, 2011

I am a sweet onion fanatic. Not so very long ago, I'd have to sometimes settle for a stouter storage onion.  Storage onions are fine for cooking, but they can be too pungent for truly enjoying raw.  These days, I can always find a sweet onion at the grocery store.  Even though sweet onions aren't the unusual treat that they used to be, I still get excited about onions this time of year.  Why?  This is Vidalia onion season!  Juicy and sweet with thick layers, these onions are a wonder. 

What makes Vidalia's special?  Vidalia onions are grown in a very specific 20 county region of Georgia.  The low sulfur soil and the unique climate result in the beloved sweet onion.  (Say it like vie-dayl-yuh with a nice long I sound at the beginning.  Georgians will leave the L sound out, but I'm from Mississippi, so in it goes.) The onions are especially sweet because of their low sulfur and high sugar content.  In fact, a Vidalia onion can have as much sugar as an apple.  The onions are harvested late-April through mid-June.  They can be stored for sale as late as December in special, high-nitrogen storage units, but I generally see them in our grocery store in May and June. 

How do you use Vidalia onions?  I use sweet onions in any recipe that calls for an onion, but Vidalia onions are really best appreciated raw or lightly cooked.  Slice one for a sandwich or add chopped, raw Vidalia onion to a salad to fully appreciate the sweet onion flavor.  The onions are great in Classic Greek Salad (see recipe at the end).  The thick onion layers really lend themselves to onion rings too.  I love to use this onion ring recipe from Cooking Light. 

I bought my first Vidalia onions of the season today.  Although grown in Georgia, you can find these delicious onions nationwide.  If you've not tried Vidalias, start looking for the word "Vidalia" on the little stickers on the sweet onions at your grocery store and snap them up while you can!

Classic Greek Salad
Adapted from Greek Meze Cooking

2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into thin wedges (I tend to use lots of grape tomatoes cut in half lengthwise)
1/2 cucumber, halved and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into rings (I like to use red bell pepper)
2 oz. kalamata olives
1 large onion, finely sliced
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano
salt to taste

Toss together the tomato through feta cheese.  Combine lemon, oil, oregano, and salt in a small bowl, and whisk to make a vinaigrette.  Add to the salad and serve.

Serves 4-6


Sheri May 9, 2011 at 5:00 PM  

Love the pronunciation lesson! My mom, from Eastern NC, always dropped the L, but she was such a Southern Bell! I add it - with the ever-important long I in the first syllable. My mother loved these onions and this blog reminds me of her since she passed several years ago. Thanks!

Amy May 9, 2011 at 6:34 PM  

Wow! I had no idea someone can have such love for an onion :)

Thanks for the recipe!

Social Weight Loss May 11, 2011 at 2:06 PM  

I like your blog.Thanks for sharing this tips to us i will try this at home :)

Sree May 21, 2011 at 9:35 AM  

thanks for the recipe:)lovely blog:)

Lori May 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM  

It's such a treat when an onion is nice and sweet! Great salad!

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Amee May 30, 2011 at 4:27 PM  

This looks so good! I stumbled upon your blog in a web search and love it!! We are two blogging Mamas on the same page. :) Here's mine if you want to check it out:
I just started a link party on Fridays called "Fit and Fabulous Fridays". I would love for you to submit a recipe this week!

mobile June 1, 2011 at 3:57 AM  

This Classic Greek Salad looks so good and delicious, i think i will give it a tray. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe with us.

estrogen hormone June 3, 2011 at 4:31 AM  

you have written a nice post about vidalia and i will go to find it out and try it.

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I love sweet onions in salads or just plain on top of tomatoes. Great post, wonderful blog.

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When I was a culinary school student (I wrote about it here, if you're interested: "Culinary School: Three Semesters of Life, Learning, and Loss of Blood" http://amzn.to/eOKJWw - on Amazon Kindle) we went through onions like there was no tomorrow - nothing like 'em!

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Great recipe!!! Thanks. Check out this recipe from my book Think,Act,Love Lose Weight

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3 tomatoes
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5 dates (or 1/2 tsp stevia and 4 more sundried tomatoes)
1 squeeze of lemon juice
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Put all ingredients in a blender. On the bottom of the blender, place the water, lemon juice and tomatoes. On the top, add the sundried tommatoes and dates. Blend well. Easeir if you soak the sundried tomatoes in water for a few hours.


mom in rome June 27, 2011 at 1:05 PM  

greek salads are my favorites!!

so fresh and summery!! :)

Zip Codes July 2, 2011 at 10:13 AM  

its nice to be here.....something i always read ;) about what you mentioned in your post....thanks alot :)

HCG July 21, 2011 at 8:37 PM  

Is this what they call the sweet onion, the one that caramelizes when cooked?

Barbara Christensen July 24, 2011 at 8:20 PM  

First off as a "non corn" girl for many reasons let me say that I LOVE your blog!! Second, I love onions and now I have to add this salad to my lunch lineup for the next week. Yummy!!! Thanks for the share.

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promotional products Canada August 26, 2011 at 10:03 AM  

Your salad looks delicious! You know a lot about onions too, by the way.

Pamela September 5, 2011 at 11:31 AM  

A great way to store onion longer and I know this will sound weird. Put a pair of pantyhose on and wear for about 30 minutes - take them off and now place an onion in each leg, tie a knot add another onion, tie knot, etc going up the leg - store in a dark, cool place they will keep longer. Something about the oil from your skin. I love Vidalia onions and once I left the South I would have a box sent to me and this is how I made them last longer.

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Ja October 21, 2011 at 4:45 AM  

It looks delicious but I think that 1/4 cup of oil is a little bit too much.


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Annie December 9, 2011 at 7:13 PM  

I love using this type of onion. Have you ever tried adding orizo to your salads? Makes it a little more filling if you are looking for a longer fill. I also use Quinoa. Let me know!

Kourtney December 11, 2011 at 2:47 PM  

Thanks for posting the recipe. It is awesome when i fall in love with a photo or the way someone makes a food sound and then they fail to post the recipe and I am left trying to recreate the delicious-ness of the picture. (Which is an awful disappointment each time)

I look forward to making this! Thanks so much. xx

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I prefer to use white onions, they tasted better. give them a try

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Dennis April 19, 2012 at 10:06 AM  

That Greek Salad looks and sounds great. I'm saving this recipe for a special dinner.

Anonymous May 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM  

nice idea.. thanks for sharing.

TwinToddlersDad June 3, 2012 at 12:36 PM  

Hi Cathy
Loved your post and the salad recipe! I am not much into raw onions, but we do use sweet onions in almost every meal. We lightly fry chopped onions in olive oil in most of our recipes - veggies, meats, and on occasion even rice pilaf. They provide a nice flavor. Also a good source of potassium and fiber.

We sometimes add chopped red onions raw to our salads.

I have not been blogging lately, but good to see you have been quite active! Looking forward to more of your delicious posts :)

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Brian November 16, 2012 at 11:22 PM  

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Meg April 29, 2013 at 6:10 AM  

I think one of the best spices that we cannot live without is the onion. It is the most common spice that every dish should have. I love its taste and the smell of it makes the dish extra special.

Peter May 7, 2013 at 2:12 AM  

I love greek salad, Feta cheese is one of my faves even though I only have it once in a while. Still slimming for me lol x

Sam May 24, 2013 at 1:24 AM  

Onion and sweet salad, You can not get a better combo for a summer meal.

Jennifer June 5, 2013 at 2:30 AM  

Looking good and easy to make. Like it when you share your recipes.

Piter Turek June 7, 2013 at 12:07 PM  

Looks great! I think it's realy tasty! I would like to try it


RAch June 13, 2013 at 2:58 AM  

Onions should only ever be described as the real deal :D

Grace September 3, 2013 at 1:44 AM  

I do love onions and add them to just about everything. It is nice to see another onion lover hehe x

Leora September 6, 2013 at 4:01 AM  

I love the recipe. I am not too keep on onions by themselves but in a salad I adore them.

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Well the recipe is good and i like this salad idea. Its really good for health and there is lot of nutrition in this recipe.

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Sue C September 29, 2013 at 7:50 PM  

I love a good onion. My fave would have to be the red onion as it's a tad sweeter.

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Andi Gosling October 3, 2013 at 7:58 PM  

I love all types of onions, but the traditional onion is definitely the one for me :D

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So much time for the onion :D

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Jimmy Jones December 1, 2013 at 8:01 PM  

Of all ingredients, onions tantalize the senses most - the smell is indescribably tantalizing and they add taste to everything - almost! Your ODE is a worthy tribute to this king of tubers!

Andy Jones December 1, 2013 at 8:24 PM  

Always loved onions! In fact I don't know how the Italian and India cuisines would manage without them! There goes half the world's decent food!

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