Monday, November 1, 2010

Agave Onion

Vegan Mofo Post #4! Here's the onions that went with yesterday's simmered turnip. Yum!

Ok, back to the above plate. The simmered turnips have already been explained. The delicata squash was steamed and sprinkled with a few flakes of salt to emphasise the sweetness. And now, onto those delicious onions. They're crispy and sweet, a little brown and burnished in places, and are rapidly becoming a favourite of mine. Sometimes I throw in some fresh thyme leaves, depending on what I'm serving them with. I'm not usually one to eat onions - I buy them only rarely, because they're a definite moderation-food as far as my stomach is concerned. However, if I'm at risk of getting a stomach ache, then I need to get my money's worth of flavour. And these onions definitely deliver.
I like to use red onions. Not only is their colour absolutely beautiful, but they're a little sweeter and a little less pungent than brown or white onions. I wouldn't recommend using green onions here, because while they'd taste delicious, I think they have too much moisture to caramelise as nicely as bulb onions or shallots. You can see from the above picture that the onion I used was absolutely tiny! An onion twice its size could still be classified as 'small'. So take that into account when you're adding your agave syrup - you might need twice as much as I did, in order to get the right flavour and sweetness. This is one of the few places where I don't skimp on my sugar...

I still can't get over how damn pretty that onion is. Lacy turnip greens are also pretty, but that chopping board is in serious need of some bleach. Anyway, onto agave syrup: I love the stuff. I know it's rapidly becoming one of those new-wave health foods, raved about by every quack with internet access, but I'm going to take a step back from the pseudo-health claims and tell you this: it's delicious. Seriously. This stuff is liquid gold - it has a subtle but almost tropical flavour. It's caramelly and addictive. I know it's supposed to be lower GI than other sugars, but hey, it's still sugar. In fact, some times it's sold in concentrated forms that can be nearly as bad for you as HGCS (High Glucose Corn Syrup), so be cautious if it looks unusually thick. It's usually sold in a form with a similar consistency to maple syrup, and you can also buy it as 'raw' - not heat-treated, so definitely more natural. In summary, it's still sugar, but it tastes better than most.

Agave Onion

1 really small onion (if yours isn't tiny, double the agave, but you shouldn't need more oil)
2 tsp agave syrup
2 tsp olive oil

Slice the onion as thinly as you can manage. If you have a mandolin, let me borrow it.
Heat the oil over a medium-high heat and sautee the onions, separating the layers as you mix them around. You want them to be transparent, but not too brown - lower the heat as appropriate.
When the onions are soft and transparent, add the agave syrup, and mix to coat. Let them cook for another 5 or so minutes, stirring frequently, until they're slightly crispy.
Serve hot.
And don't forget to scrape the pan for the crispy bits before you wash it. ;)

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