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Test Kitchen video tip: Peeling small onions

January 24, 2013|By Noelle Carter and Addy Grulkowski
  • Braised cipollini with red wine glaze.
Braised cipollini with red wine glaze. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)

Many people avoid using pearl and other small onions due to the daunting fact that they have to be peeled.  Peeled like regular onions, a bowl of these could take an hour. But there’s a simple way to peel these tasty little guys, and the method won’t make you cry.

Here’s how you do it:

1.      Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. While water is heating up, cut off the ends of each onion.

2.      Place onions in the boiling water and let boil for about a minute. Drain in colander.

3.      Drain the onions, then submerge them in an ice water bath to make handling them easier.

4.      Once onions are cool enough to handle, pinch one side of the onion and the delicious center will pop out, leaving behind the skin.

And there you have it!

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Braised cipollini with red wine glaze

Total time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Use a Pinot Noir or a light red wine such as a Cotes du Rhone, Beaujolais or Chianti.

1 1/2 pounds small to medium cipollini, ends trimmed

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon oil


Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 to 2 cups red wine

1. Bring a 4-quart saucepan of water to boil. Blanch the cipollini for about 30 seconds in the boiling water, just enough to loosen the skins. Drain and shock in an ice bath, then drain again and dry. Remove the outer layer of skin and set aside.

2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and oil and allow the butter to melt, swirling the fats so they coat the bottom of the pan. Add the cipollini in a single layer. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a couple grinds of pepper, or to taste. Saute the cipollini just until the tops and bottoms are caramelized, about 2 minutes on each side.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and add just enough wine to cover the cipollini by about two-thirds. Return the pan to medium-high heat and bring the wine to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle but steady simmer and braise the cipollini until the wine is reduced to a glaze that will coat the back of a spoon, 25 to 35 minutes depending on the heat and pan. Take care during the last few minutes not to scorch. Remove from the heat, and serve immediately.

Each serving: 129 calories; 1 gram protein; 12 grams carbohydrates; 1 grams fiber; 4 grams fat; 1 grams saturated fat; 5 mg. cholesterol; 394 mg. sodium.

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