White onion is a type of dry onion that has a pure, white skin and a sweet, mild white flesh. They are ideal for cooking or adding raw to salads. They can be sautéed to a dark brown color and served to provide a sweet and tart flavor to other foods. When I discovered it on the local market I had already known what to do from it: the oven baked onion with saffron sauce. I tasted it first in France at the Auberge Beuville’s in Quercy and it was so good because of the saffron together with the white wine and of course with the white onion so I asked the recipe from the chef! Last week I gave it a try and the recipe really lived up to my expectations!
Ingredients for the meatballs: 500 gr pork mince, 80 g fresh breadcrumbs, 2 cloves of garlic, crushed, 1 small onion, very finely chopped, ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1 egg, beaten, flour, for dusting, 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil, roughly chopped flat leaf parsley, to serve
For the Saffron sauce: 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra virgin olive oil, 1 large onion, halved and finely sliced, crushed, large pinch saffron threads, 1½ tsp sweet paprika, 250 ml (1 cup) white wine, 625 ml (2 ½ cups) chicken stock, 55 g (⅓ cup) almond meal, 25 g (⅓ cup) fresh breadcrumbs
Directions: Cut into half the white onions then put it into the oven and cook for 20 minutes on 180 degrees (without any grease). Take them out and hollow them. Keep the onion fleshes.
Make the sauce: heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium, add the onion hollowed fleshes then cook, stirring often, for 7-8 minutes or until very soft. Add the saffron and paprika, almonds, then cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant then add the wine. Bring the wine to a simmer then cook for 5 minutes over medium or until the wine has reduced slightly then add the stock. Bring to a simmer then stir in the crumbs and almond meal and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the onions on the plates and fill them with the onion fleshes and spoon over some saffron sauce. Place the tops on them.
Combine the mince, crumbs, garlic, onion, nutmeg and egg in a bowl. Season well with salt and pepper then using clean hands, mix to combine well. Take half spoon of the mixture and roll it into balls. Dust the balls in bread crumble. Heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium add the meatballs then cook, turning often, for 10 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon to drain off as much of the oil as possible, transfer the balls to the sauce and gently stir to combine well.
Bring the sauce back to a simmer then serve the meat balls and sauce, with the white onions and croquettes.