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Sweet and Sour Onions (Cipolline in Agrodolce)

If you can find the small, flat, yellow- or red-skinned onions sold here as cipolline, by all means use them in this recipe, following the method below.

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  • Servings: 4- 8

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  • 1 pound small white or red onions (about 20)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Using a paring knife, trim the root and stem ends of the onions. In a medium saucepan of boiling water, cook the onions over moderate heat until they are just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain immediately and peel.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a nonreactive medium saucepan. Add the bay leaves and cook over moderately low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to brown around the edges, about 7 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper. Increase the heat to moderate and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture starts to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Transfer the onions to a bowl and stir gently to coat them with the syrup. Serve at room temperature.
Contributed By Published August 1996

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