Hello everybody! I hope you all took advantage of the first half of the weekend that was nice and sunny and were able to stay warm and cuddled up for the second half of the weekend that was cold and dreary (if you live in these parts of the woods, that is!). Gotta love springtime weather. Even though it’s supposed to be rainy all week, there’s just something about the coziness of being inside on a rainy and windy day that I like. Yesterday was a sweatpants kind of day (well, who am I kidding, any day at home is a sweatpants kind of day) and it was so nice to have an entire afternoon with no real plans. I wish I could say that about the rest of my weekend, but it was productive nonetheless!
Since I had the day off from work on Friday, I got out for another long run. Unlike last weekend, though, it was on a trail I ran every. single. day last summer. Like I mentioned last week, I hibernate for the winter, so I hadn’t been on the trail since last fall. It’s amazing how memories come flooding back when you’re back in a place you visited frequently during a certain time in your life (specifically a major transition). I instantly felt like I was back to my days of wedding planning and being new to the Madison area. I reminisced for awhile (a lot of thinking happens during a 15 mile run), and if I’m being honest, I realized I miss last summer just a little bit, but it was nice knowing I’m much more established in the area now and not a newbie (not to mention, I’m married!).
Anyway, that had no real purpose besides that I’m going to switch gears for an upcoming post and talk about why I’ve been doing so many long runs recently and the fast approaching races I have planned for myself. I’m really excited for them and they’re giving me a good challenge to work towards…as well as making me question my sanity, but that’s besides the point.
Enough about future posts, what’s on tap for today, you ask? I present to you a surprisingly simple side dish for any meal: Balsamic Roasted Pearl Onions. I don’t know about you, but I do a horrible job of planning actual sides to have with dinner. I educate clients all day, every day about the MyPlate (the new MyPyramid), so I try really hard to make sure our meals at home are looking like that most of the time—which is including all the food groups and filling half of our plates with produce. However, I’m feeling pretty good just when I have the main course planned out and prepared, let alone figuring out a side to go along with it. So, most of the time, we end up having a side salad or fresh fruit and veggies as “half our plate of produce”. Those aren’t bad, but it doesn’t lend itself to much creativity.
Balsamic Roasted Pearl Onions provide that finishing touch to any meal—they appear to be elegant with a lot of tears and sweat put into them (well, possibly tears—they are onions after all), but they’re simple enough to put together and enjoy with any weeknight meal. Or, having guests over for dinner? Bring out the pearled onions as a side. They’re so cute, no guest can resist them; plus, nobody has to know there’s only three ingredients involved.
Pearled onions are much milder and sweeter than a regular onion and because roasting any kind of vegetable caramelizes the natural sugar found in the vegetable, it becomes even milder and sweeter. To start the process, soak the onions in hot water for about 10 minutes. This will make taking off all of those skins so much easier. Cut off both ends of the onion and the skin should peel right off.
If you’re like me and soak them only to find out you forgot about them until you’re all ready for dinner (another issue I have with side dishes; I’m only one person, I can only handle so much!), you can throw them in the fridge
over night for a few, several days (ahem) and then take the skins off later. I wouldn’t recommend leaving them in the fridge until they’re sprouting, but like I said, I struggle with sides. :)
Next, just toss with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar on a baking pan. Season with a little salt and pepper and those babies are ready to roast in the oven. Nearly no dishes to clean up, either! Double bonus.
I’m so glad I eventually got around to roasting these suckers, because they were so succulent and perfectly, mildly sweet. The taste wasn’t overpowering, and they were the perfect size to pop into your mouth. The roasting softened them up nicely, while the balsamic vinegar with the natural sweetness of the onions makes them a perfect compliment to any main dish you’re serving.
I’ve added this to my short list of “go-to” side dishes. And next time there’s no chance I’ll leave them left alone until they’re sprouting. :)
Balsamic Roasted Pearl Onions
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 1 10-oz bag pearl onions
- 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Soak onions in hot water for at least 10 minutes to peel skins off more easily. Drain onions. At this point, you can store onions in the refrigerator over night. Cut both ends of the onion off and peel off the skin.
- Lay onions on a baking pan. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and olive oil over onions. Toss to coat.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over onions, to taste.
- Roast onions in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until onions are tender. Stir onions every 10 minutes.