I’ve written about other fun ingredients, like garlic scapes and blue potatoes … here’s one that’s showing up in Midwest farmers’ markets right about now: the candy onion. ‘Candy’ is a variety of sweet, mild onion; I’ve found them in a range of sizes at markets in Cincinnati and Bloomington recently.
Freshly harvested, candy onions have white flesh without a papery skin, and a firm (but not hard) texture. One way to take full advantage of their sweetness is to grill them. Here’s how.
grilled candy onions
This grilling technique works for both softball-sized and golfball-sized onions. For large onions, trim the stem and root end, then slice the onion horizontally into 1/2-inch thick slices. Carefully (without separating the rings) transfer the slices to a plate; drizzle with good olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat your grill to medium, and grill the onion slices until the outer rings are beautifully charred and the inner rings are translucent, about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. For smaller onions, trim the root end and leave about 2 inches of the green stalks. Slice each onion vertically in half, then proceed with the olive oil, seasoning and grilling instructions above.
Grilled candy onions make fantastic toppers for beef or chicken burgers. They’re wonderful in lieu of Durkee French Onions on green beans (add some crisp bacon, for a true Midwestern summer classic). The candy variety would make killer onion rings, methinks. If you see these beauties at your farmers’ market, bring one home and try it!