When you slow roast whole onions, they turn from raw, firm and sharp to sweet, soft, and aromatic. It’s day 8 in the hospital for my dad, in the ICU. Hence my absence since the Greek Lasagna, when I told you he was just wheeled into surgery.
Since I’m filling you in on this, you should know that my dad is a guy who, until recently, at age 80, was still hiking miles at a time, often while carrying his huge, heavy camera equipment in case he saw a new wildflower or bird. He’s been an avid hiker and photographer since the 1970’s. Not only has he hiked all of the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains, but he’s helped build many of them, too! My dad has always led a healthy lifestyle, been super fit and incredibly active — which I think will help him through this.This fresh oregano just looked so pretty sitting under the window in my kitchen in the natural light — I had to capture it before it went into the onions.
Things did not go according to plan. My dad was meant to be in the hospital 4 to 7 days, so he was supposed to be home by now. An open-heart surgery that was not expected to exceed 6 hours lasted almost 11 and was much more difficult than anticipated. He will be in the ICU at least another 2 weeks.
Back and forth from the hospital, I realized I hadn’t cooked in almost a week, which in my world is a very long time! This was the perfect therapeutic recipe to help me feel better. It was easy, passed through beautiful stages throughout the roasting process, and the results were delicious.There have been complications which lead to some steps backwards. It’s been up and down, but I’m happy to report that we have finally had a few steps forwards. Today is a good day, and his team of doctors all feel he will recover. PHEW! It will be a very long and hard road, but he’ll make it home to my mom, I just know it.
Meanwhile, my house has the scent of the fresh oregano, rosemary and caramelized onions, running through it. Is it weird to talk about the onions now? A little. I know — but, we must. Cooking these onions really helped me on a one of the more difficult days, and they are so wonderful.
If you’ve ever roasted garlic before and think it’s delicious, you’ll flip over these onions! Roasting them for a long time softens them and brings their sugars to the surface. They become almost spreadable!
The addition of fresh herbs makes the onions incredibly aromatic — every bite is laced with the oregano and rosemary and the splash of vermouth. Oh, and let’s not forget the final touch — a little bit of melting butter. Oh my!These onions can be served on their own as a side dish – and would be fantastic with lamb or steak. You can also add them to a taco, burrito or a salad. And I had them for breakfast mixed into scrambled eggs. Delicious! Really, you could even just bite into one and be happy. Yes, like an apple!
Thank you all for the continued wishes for my dad’s recovery. I truly appreciate it! And I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I did.
- 6 large brown/yellow onions (about ¾ to 1-pound each)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons extra dry vermouth
- a few sprigs fresh rosemary, washed & dried
- a few sprigs fresh oregano, washed & dried
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and adjust a rack to the center.
- Do not peel the onions! Slice the root end off of each one, just about ½-inch — only enough to create a base so the onions don’t roll around. Then slice about 1-inch off the tip end of each one, and use the knife to mark an “X” on top, going in only ½-inch or so. Place them in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan, root ends down.
- Drizzle the onions evenly with about 2 tablespoons of the oil — and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Place in the preheated 300 degree F oven, uncovered, for 2 hours.
- Remove from the oven and then drizzle 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil into each onion. Then drizzle ½ tablespoon of the vermouth into each onion. Stick a small sprig of the rosemary and oregano into each, sprinkle with a bit more salt, cover with foil, and return to the oven for 1½ hours.
- Remove from the oven again and take off the foil. Insert about ½ tablespoon of butter into each onion and turn the oven up to 350 degrees F.
- Return the onions, uncovered, to the preheated 350 degree F oven and roast for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the pan. Once they’re cool enough to touch, take off the skins, slice and serve.