Here is a great side dish for red meats, especially steaks. It’s a bit different using onions on their own, as so often they are one part of some other dish. So many great recipes start with: “saute the onions in butter” but in this case, the onions are the star.
The balsamic vinegar makes the onions sweeter than they’d be if they were roasted. Why does vinegar sweeten anything? It’s vinegar! Vinegar isn’t sweet, it’s tangy!
Here’s the answer. Balsamic vinegar isn’t exactly vinegar, but instead a syrup made from two particular grapes which are reduced to thicken the liquid and intensify the flavour. This liquid is then aged in casks (just like wine) for from 12 to over 25 years. All this work and time creates an incredible tasting and very expensive vinegar. $75.00 for 3.4 ounces! The bottle is lovely, though.
To imitate traditionally made balsamic vinegar, commercial manufacturers take wine vinegar and add caramel to colour and sweeten and thickeners (yes, to thicken) in an attempt to mimic traditionally produced Balsamic vinegar. For cheapskates like myself, reducing a bottle of less expensive Balsamic vinegar by half by boiling it for 15 minutes or so, gets an acceptable substitute (this was used in the Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe).
This is what it looks like when you make Roasted Red Onions.
Put the prepared onions in a casserole dish.
Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake them.
Roasted Red Onions.
Roasted Red Onions
4 red onions, peeled and trimmed so they sit flat
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Cut a cross in the tops of the onions. This will allow more oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to get into the onions and flavour them.
Place the red onions in a baking dish, just snug enough so they don’t roll around or fall over. Pour the olive oil, then the Balsamic vinegar over the onions to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and bake, uncovered in a 400° oven for 40 minutes. Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar reduction, if you have some!