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Author Notes: I love alliums and wish they could take center stage! These sweet onions are delicious served whole, flavored with a delicate sauce of white enoki mushrooms (which won't upstage the onion) and a little beef. The scattering of rosemary flowers is so that you have two distinct flavors in one dish (and they are pretty). Western-style cooking doesn't include much microwave cooking ( other than heat up and thaw). In Japan about 70% of the population doesn't have an oven but everyone has a microwave, so it is used much more in actual cooking. The onion turned out surprisingly sweet. This is a shintamanugi, a variety of sweet onion shaped like a shallot but larger, usually eaten raw. Vidalia or Maui onions are delicious and there are other varieties listed below. —BoulderGalinTokyo
Onion on a Pedestal with Beef Enoki Sauce and Rosemary Flowers
- 4 spring sweet onions, includes Walla Walla and Vidalia, see Note for more varieties.
- 200 grams ground beef
- 1 sack enoki mushrooms, chopped in 1-inch lengthss
- edible rosemary flowers, optional
Ginger Sauce with Beef and Enoki Mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups broth or dashi
- 1 1-inch knob of ginger, peeled, grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon sake (rice wine) or sherry
- 2 teaspoons mirin
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce, Kikkoman Lite preferred
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (only if broth has no sodium content)
- 2 teaspoons katakuriko or potato starch, dissolved in 2 teaspoons of water
- Peel onion down to the thinnest outside membrane. If it comes off, don't worry. Carefully cut an X in the bulb bottom. Place all in a microwavable bowl. Cover with cling wrap. You can also microwave in individual bowls (cups) if they are also made for the microwave. I used HIGH (900 w) for 5 minutes, then let it rest.
- SAUCE: Bring the broth or dashi to a boil. Add the ginger, sake, soy sauce, mirin, and salt. Boil just a minute or so. Remove from heat.
- In a skillet, saute the beef until looses the pink color, then add the enoki. Saute a minute or two until the enoki have 'wilted' and are soft.
- With a paper towel and a spatula remove excess oil in skillet. Then add broth to the beef mixture. Bring back to a boil.
- Mix the katakuriko again in the water until well stirred, then add slowly to the broth while stirring. After about a minute, it should thicken up. Remove from heat.
- Microwave the onions for another 2 minutes or so (depends on the size).
- TO SERVE: Carefully move the onion to the serving dish. Spoon some sauce over the top and around edges. Sprinkle with a few rosemary flowers.
- DASHI: I like konbu (sea vegetable) dashi better than katsuo (bonito flakes). Easier to clean up too. Just boil a piece of konbu in water for awhile (10 minutes). But you can buy bottled dashi-just remember that it is concentrated so you need to dilute with water.
- VEGAN or VEGETARIAN: Just leave out beef. Still tastes delicious!
- NOTE* OTHER VARIETIES OF SWEET ONIONS--Imperial Valley Sweets from southern California, The Carzalia Sweet Onion, the Sunbrero Sweet Onion, the Glennville Sweet Onion, The Pecos Onions, Texas 1015 Super Sweet and Maui Sweet Onion. The Sweetie Sweet is an autumn version. Varieties found @Wikipedia.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spring Alliums