Believe it or not — the onions in your pantry can go a long way.
Now that summer is growing near, onions are more important than ever — not just to make the most of your meals, but they are a great resource for your summer cookouts — in more ways than one.
As you start your grill this summer, an onion is essential. Cleaning your grill is always a messy job, and should be done with a brush. But the juices in an onion become natural cleansers when applied to heated grates. This is especially important when using a public campground or park grill. You never know what was on them last!
Onions’ naturally occurring juices contain sulfur compounds that not only repel bugs while they’re growing — the same ones that cause your eyes to tear up when you cut into them — they are strong enough to break down the grime on your hot grill. Those same juices provide the flavor you’ve come to love from an onion, while protecting your body from certain types of cancers and diseases. Some studies also have shown increased consumption reduces blood pressure and even lessens asthmatic issues.
That onion, however, can go a little further. When you’re done cleaning the grill, toss the leftover onion in the coals to infuse a good onion flavor into whatever you’re cooking.
Now that your grill is clean, here are a couple of a great recipes to kick off your grilling season:
Sweet Onion Sliders
16 Slider buns, about 2 ½ to 3 inches in diameter, split and toasted
16 tablespoons unsalted margarine, room temperature (use recipe below or store-bought margarine)
4 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia, sliced into 16 (1/3-inch thick) slider-size patties
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the onion patties
Sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (use recipe below or store-bough mayo)
4 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped capers (optional)
Spread each bun with 1 tablespoon of the margarine. Bush each onion patty with the olive oil. Heat a grill to medium-high heat, or place a grill pan over a burner set to medium-high heat. Cook the onion patties until just tender and grill marks form, about 10 minutes.
Place 1 onion patty on each bun bottom. Lightly season the onions with the salt. Spread some of the mayonnaise around the inside top of each bun, sprinkle with the parsley and the capers, if using, and close each bun. Serve immediate.
Yields 16 sliders