These plump onions are one of autumn's sweetest delights. By: Cheryl Slocum
October 27, 2014
1 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
First cultivated in Italy, cipollini are most often served there as agrodolce (the Italian word for "sweet and sour"), a condiment that pairs beautifully with cheese or roasted meat. Try our version of this vinegar and sugar–braised dish, the recipe for which is at the end of this gallery. It's ready in only 20 minutes.
These squat, silver dollar–sized onions, at their peak from fall through midwinter, have an unusually high sugar content, which helps them caramelize quickly to a gorgeous brown. After prepping, you can put them in the oven with carrots and potatoes alongside your favorite roast for a hearty fall feast.
2 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Cover cipollini with boiling water. Let onions soak 1 to 2 minutes; drain.
3 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Carefully cut off the root and stem ends to avoid cutting away too much of the onion.
4 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Pull the skin away from the onion. Use a paring knife to help grab the thin skin.
5 of 5Photo: Randy Mayor
Sweet and Sour Cipollini
Just a few ingredients make for a complex condiment that dresses up simple roast chicken or pork. To add a floral note, replace the brown sugar with clover honey.
For a quick appetizer, spread herbed goat cheese on crostini, and top each round with a cipollini half and a parsley leaf. Cipollini also make wonderful pickles. Brine them with a mix of equal parts vinegar and water, plus aromatic spices and herbs.