Cipollini Agrodolce

In Italian, agro means sour and dolce means sweet — hence, sweet and sour cipollini onions. This very popular, tangy condiment is often served as a first coarse with a rustic, flavorful cheese, or chopped into salads, and sometimes stuffed into chicken before roasting. Cipollini onions are available at the late fall, early winter farmers markets from Borba Farms, Route One, Pinnacle and T & L Coke Farm.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6-8 peppercorns
6 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
Strips of zest from one whole orange
1 1/2 cups golden balsamic vinegar
2 lbs. small cipollini, about the same size, peeled and trimmed

METHOD:

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onions are slightly tender. Test with a paring knife — the onions should be firm-tender, not crunchy.

Drain onions, reserving liquid. Allow onions to cool slightly, then place in a large jar.

Return reserved liquid to saucepan. Over medium high heat, continue cooking to reduce liquid until it becomes syrupy and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and pour over onions in jar. Cool, then refrigerate. Refrigerate onions at least a week or two before using for best flavor.

YIELD: About 1 quart

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