Years ago I never would have fathomed that I would cook up half an onion and eat it in one sitting – willingly. It used to be the days that the only onions I would put in my mouth were scallions. And then I grew up…. After I graduated from college, I discovered the nuances that red onions, Vidalia onions, Spanish onions, and shallots can bring to a dish. No longer am I afraid of a strong flavor, and thank goodness – it’s about time!
My dad has always raved about the sweetness of Vidalia onions, and once I finally gave them a chance I understood why he could never pass them up. When we lived in Wisconsin and Ontario, they were pretty rare and so became a sort of special treat – at least to him. Even now for me in New Jersey, they seem to only be available for part of the year, so I grab them when I can. I like to cook them down – red onions and shallots are still the only onions, apart from scallions, I will eat raw – in a gentle sweat or a full-on sauté. Wow, the sweetness! The crisp bite!
This recipe was heavily inspired by one in Suzanne Sommers’ Eat Great, Lose Weight book (don’t laugh – it was originally my mother’s book, but I permanently borrowed it because her recipes are fantastic; they’re not “diet recipes” by an any stretch, but rather wholesome, French-inspired meals). She cooked down her onions – yellow, I think – until very crispy, then plopped them on a plate and nestled separately cooked eggs in the middle. I prefer to leave my onions with a bit more of their original body with them, sautéing until they develop rich, browned flavors but are still soft to the touch. Then I smoosh them around to the edges of my small pan and cook the eggs sunny side up in the middle (or as close to over-easy as I can get, which is how I really like my eggs cooked, by putting a lid on the eggs during cooking). This way, the onion “nest” sticks to the edges of the eggs and keeps everything tidy and cozy. They are delicious, I promise – and rather cute, too.