Baked Onions

This was inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe, but mine are slightly different because I made with what I had in the fridge. You can make these as a starter or lunch dish, they also make a nice side dish with a larger meal.

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 Onions (about the size of a tennis ball)

4 Slices of prosciutto (you could also use streaky bacon, or Parma ham

2 Tbsp Double Cream

1Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp Parmesan

Salt & Pepper

Ingredients

  1. Peel the onions and put in a pot of water just coming to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool
  2. Cut the top of the onion and hollow about an inch of the centre of the onion and set to one
  3. Trim the bottom to make sure the onion can sit upright in a baking tray
  4. Chop the centre of the onion you removed, fry in the butter until it has started to colour, add the cream and salt and pepper then reduce the cream is no longer runny
  5. Wrap the hollowed out onion with a slice of prosciutto. You can use the woody part of a stalk of rosemary for more flavour if you have it. A cocktail stick works just as well at holding the prosciutto in place
  6. Divide the fried onions between the hollowed out onions, and top with the bread crumbs and parmesan.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, until the topping is golden and crunchy

Arancini (Risotto Balls)

I had these for the first time in New York, with a cocktail in an air conditioned bar which felt like I’d arrived in heaven after pounding the streets on a hellishly warm day. 

These make a great little starter, or are divine with a glass of wine or a cold beer.

If you are organised enough to have made the mushroom risotto a day or two before then these are pretty quick and easy.  Some people like these with a marinara sauce, but I think these are delicious enough on their own.

 500 grams Mushroom risotto

100 grams Mozzarella (dolcelatte also works really well)

2 Tbsp. Plain flour

2 Eggs

*100 grams White breadcrumbs (See food hack)

Olive oil for deep frying

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Cut the mozzarella into 1.5 cm cubes, or you can use the little mozzarella “pearls” you can buy in some super markets
  2. Take a tablespoon of the cold risotto mixture in your hand and flatten it.  Add a small piece of cheese and form the risotto around it to make a ball.  Do this until you have used up all the risotto (it’s useful to have a bowl of water handy to wet your hands and stop the risotto sticking. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat oil on a large heavy based pan or deep fat fryer.
  4. Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper, which the eggs in a separate bowl, and add the breadcrumbs to another dish
  5. Heat oil on a large heavy based pan or deep fat fryer.
  6. Role the risotto balls in flour, then beaten egg, and finally the breadcrumbs
  • Add the breaded risotto balls to oil and fry until golden brown, remember to drain any excess oil on kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper.

* Food Hack  – When you’re shopping pick up bead that has been reduced because it’s going stale.  When you get home, take 5 minutes and whizz the bread up in a food processor until it’s crumbs.  Put these breadcrumbs into a large freezer bag and keep in your freezer.  Bread crumbs are an amazingly versatile ingredient, that you can use in everything from gratins, deep fried crusts, stuffing or even thickening sauces.