Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Red Onions

Red onions are a flavorful way to add some color to your meals.  In general, fruits and vegetables that are darkly- and deeply-colored contain more nutrients than their neutral-toned counterparts.  This means that red onions have a greater variety of nutrients than the more traditional white onions, although the two can be used interchangeably in many recipes.  Like white onions, red onions are an excellent source of Vitamin C and a good source of several B vitamins and fiber.  Red onions’ vibrant hue gives them a leg up, however, as their color signals that they are high in antioxidant flavonoids, particularly quercetin, which may offer protection against allergies, heart disease, and certain cancers.  Red onions are extremely versatile, as they can both serve as the star of a dish and brighten up the flavor profile of any dish to which they are added.

Red Onion Soup with Cheese Toasts

Olive oil
3 pounds red onions, peeled and sliced ⅛-inch thick
Black pepper, to taste
9 cups water, divided
1 cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1 small bunch thyme, tied with string
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6 slices day-old whole wheat bread, lightly toasted
6 ounces grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon chopped sage


Instructions
1.  Set 2 large, wide skillets over medium-high heat. When pans are hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and a large handful of sliced onions to each pan. Season onions with pepper, then sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are a ruddy dark brown, about 10 minutes.
2.  Transfer onions to soup pot and return pans to stove. Pour ½ cup water into each pan to deglaze it, scraping with a wooden spoon to dissolve any brown bits. Pour deglazing liquid into soup pot.
3.  Wipe pans clean with paper towel and begin again with more oil and sliced onions. Continue until all onions are used. Don’t crowd pans or onions won’t brown sufficiently.
4.  Place soup pot over high heat. Add wine, bay leaves, thyme bunch, and garlic. Simmer rapidly for 5 minutes, then add 8 cups water and return to boil. Turn heat down to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 45 minutes. Skim off any surface fat, taste and adjust seasoning.
5.  To serve, remove the thyme. Make the cheese toasts: Heat broiler. Place toasted bread on baking sheet. Mix grated cheese with chopped thyme and sage, along with a generous amount of pepper. Heap about 1 ounce of cheese mixture on each toast. Broil until cheese bubbles and browns slightly.
6.  Ladle soup into wide bowls and top with toast.  Serves 6.

Recipe adapted from The New York Times

Radish, Arugula, and Red Onion Salad with Tangerines

2 tangerines
2 tablespoons finely chopped radishes plus 12 large radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced on diagonal
1 tablespoon chopped red onion plus ½ cup thinly sliced
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium fennel bulb, quartered lengthwise with core intact, very thinly sliced lengthwise
3 cups (packed) arugula
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
Instructions
1.  Finely grate enough peel from tangerines to measure 1 teaspoon; place in small bowl and reserve for dressing.
2.  Using sharp knife, cut off top and bottom of each tangerine, then cut off all peel and white pith, following contour of fruit. Cut tangerines vertically in half, then crosswise into ¼ inch-thick slices; set aside.
3.  Combine finely chopped radishes, chopped red onion, lemon juice, and grated tangerine peel in small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in extra-virgin olive oil. Season salad dressing to taste with coarse freshly ground black pepper.
4.  Combine tangerine slices, radish slices, onion slices, fennel slices, arugula leaves, and chopped fresh mint in large bowl.  Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat thoroughly. Transfer salad to large shallow bowl and serve.  Serves 6.

Recipe from Bon Appetit 

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