How sweet it is: Recipes to help you enjoy Vidalia onion season

features@beaufortgazette.comMay 21, 2013 

Every year I get a call from Buf to tell me the Vidalia onions are in. And when I go to pick them up, there's always a crowd there waiting to buy theirs.

Vidalia onions spare the tears and are sweet rather than strong.

The story of the Vidalia onion is one of the great agricultural marketing successes of the 20th century. When Moss Coleman of Toombs County, Ga., discovered that the onions he had harvested were sweet rather than hot, he was able to demand a higher price per pound, something unheard of during the 1930s.

Other farmers started cultivating sweet onions, which took the name of the nearby town of Vidalia.

Onions are supposed to be the secret good health, and, just like the apple, they keep the doctor away.

MARINATED TOMATOES AND ONIONS

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

4 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

6 large tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine first 5 ingredients in small bowl and whisk until well blended. Layer half of tomatoes in large serving bowl and cover with half of onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with some of marinade. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cover and chill before serving

Source: "Too Busy To Cook," by Bon Appetit (1981)

WHOLE BAKED ONIONS

4 medium onions

1/4 cup melted butter

Grated cheese

Peel and wash onions. In moderate oven of 375 degrees, bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Squeeze the onions to force out the centers. Place on a serving plate and pour the melted butter and grated cheese on top.

Serve while hot.

From Ervena Faulkner's personal file

ONION SHORTCAKE

Makes: 6 servings

1 recipe Baking Powder Biscuit Dough (below)

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups sliced large mild onions

1 egg slightly beaten

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Pat baking powder biscuit dough in a greased deep 9-inch pie or cake pan. Melt butter in frying pan, add onions and cook over low heat 5 minutes. Spread onions over biscuit dough. Combine slightly beaten egg with sour cream and seasonings, and pour over onions. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 25 minutes or until custard is formed on top.

Serve with roast beef or steak.

BAKING POWDER BISCUIT DOUGH

2 cups sifted flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons shortening

3/4 cup milk

Mix and sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or fork until the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Stir in milk to make a smooth dough. Turn out on slightly floured board, knead 1/2 minute, and roll lightly to thickness of 1/2 inch.

Source: "Super Market Cook Book" (1940)

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