Here is your dare. Slice a fresh, hard white onion, order some crappy Chinese food where the fried rice is brown from soy sauce or toss some good fried rice with a little dark soy sauce, and alternate bites of white onion and spoonfuls of fried rice. Or try bites of onion with oil-slicked, warm, herb-dusted (like zataar) flatbread.
You will love! You will not be able to stop.
Unless you are in that odd camp of people who hates onions. My partner, James, hates onions. He’ll still cook with them once in a while and he likes French Onion Soup, but he will eat around any obvious pieces of cooked onions on his plate and he would explode and fall to the ground in ashes if he took a bite of a raw onion, or so his reaction to the idea would suggest. I love onions and the only reason I don’t eat them raw more often is out of consideration for the world around me, so if you ride the Bloor-Danforth subway line daily, you’re welcome. But these roasted shallots are exactly the kind of dinner I make when James is not around. Smelly, strong, too-rich, and all-around good. I’d eat these with some buttered bread to pick up the very sweet, slightly spicy sauce and 5-minute-chilled light red wine. Oh and yes, these are good wherever you need a roasted side dish too.
Roasted Harissa Shallots
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp harissa paste
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 lbs shallots, peeled but roots intact and trimmed to the base, larger ones halved lengthwise
Red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. Add the oil, butter harissa paste, thyme and salt to a large bowl and mix well. Add the shallots and toss well to combine. Roast in a baking dish for 30 minutes, turning once, until the shallots are soft, completely cooked and starting to brown. Then mix well and broil for 3-5 minutes to make the tops brown in some spots. At this point the shallots will be incredibly sweet and delicious as they are. If you prefer to cut the sweetness a little or balance the dish, drizzle very lightly with some red wine vinegar, mix well and serve.
Makes 6-8 side servings.