Hmmm Allium cepa!
Yummy, tasty, healthy and strong. And so lovely, as to bring tears to your eyes. No dish would be the same without it, no hamburger worth it's name could march forth proudly under it's bun if it weren't graced by this, the Allium cepa. It goes into every meal that I prepare and doubled at that, stir fried and delectable, boiled and toothsome, raw and hot, grilled and scrumptious, deep-fat fried and...........wellll delicious it is the ONION! This homely little plant doesn't look like much, it's papery skin rather ugly, it's shape slightly potbellied and stubby BUT, what is in side, now that is the real treasure. Ring upon ring of crisp flesh, white, yellow, red or brown, lends it's zesty and pungent flavor to a casserole, salad, roast or burger. However they can also be sweet as well, take the Walla Walla Sweets or Vidalia onions, so sweet you can slice them and scarf them up raw, without burning your tongue or breaking into a sweat. While others are so spicy that they lift the hair off your head and burn going down.
There are also some good health benifits from eating onions, I quote.
"Evidence suggests that onions may be effective against the common cold, heart disease, diabetes, osteoprosis, and other diseases. They contain anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and antioxidant components such as quercetin. In many parts of the world, onions are used to heal blisters and boils. The regular consumption of onions has, like garlic, been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, both of which help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. These beneficial effects are likely due to onions' sulfur compounds, its chromium and its vitamin B6, which helps prevent heart disease by lowering high homocysteine levels, another significant risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Onions have been singled out as one of the small number of vegetables and fruits that contributed to the significant reduction in heart disease risk seen in a meta-analysis of seven prospective studies. Of the more than 100,000 individuals who participated in these studies, those whose diets most frequently included onions, tea, apples and broccoli-the richest sources of flavonoids-gained a 20% reduction in their risk of heart disease."
Ok so maybe you didn't want a sermon on the benifits of onions but seeing as the Onion Growers Of America are paying me to post this.....not really but onions are truely a glorious veggi. On a funny note did you know that you can say in English"someone really dices my onion!"? Or that amongst the Khasi tribe in North East India, Onion or "piat" in the local dialect refers to someone who is present everywhere or in every social gathering? Ha ha ha.
I should mention Shallots here as well, those beggers have more antioxidents then other onions and better cancer fighting abilities. They are also smaller and stronger and make you cry longer. While in Greece we learned to make a dish called Stafitho into which we mixed (among other things) three pounds of shallots (big recipe don't worry) and a bar of dark chocolate. Skye who was in charge of helping me prepare the shallots found a unique way to prevent himself from crying. After trying matchsticks held in the mouth as well as a piece of bread he went for a more direct and usefull approach. Rolling up two plugs of bread he stuffed them into his nose, according to him this is the most effective way to prevent tears from rolling. And the next time you peel three pounds of shallots you just might try it too.