About Cipollini Onions
Pronounced 'chip-oh-LEE-nee', this type of onion is small, flat and pale. The flesh is a slight yellowish hue and the skins are thin and papery. The color of the skin can range from pale yellow to the light brown color possessed by Spanish onions. Cipollinis are sweet; they have more natural sugar than regular white or yellow onions, but not as much as shallots.
Finding cipollinis in markets can be somewhat difficult since they are not as popular as other varieties of onions. Specialty markets and higher end grocery stores will be more likely to carry them but with the possibility of only being available at certain times of the year. Cipollinis are harvested in autumn and may not be easily found year round and because of this, when cipollinis are encountered, they may be quite expensive.
Cipollini onions can be used whenever a recipe calls for onion. Since cipollinis are flat, they lend themselves well to roasting, which brings out their natural sweetness. Cipollinis can be used in recipes where whole caramelized onions are required. Serve as a side dish along roasted meats or with a vegetarian holiday menu. Try this simple recipe for roasted cipollinis:
Honey Roasted Cipollini Onions
- 15 cipollini onions
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 a bunch thyme, leaves removed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Add the onions to a large bowl, cover with hot water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. This will help ease the peeling of the cipollini's papery skin. Strain the onions and peel.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, thyme, salt and pepper until combined. Put the onions in a large bowl, pour the dressing over them and toss well to coat.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add about 2 tbsp. olive oil and heat. Once hot, add the onions. Place the sauté pan into the preheated oven and roast for 18 - 20 minutes until the onions are soft and slightly caramelized.