Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Torpedo Onions, Zucchini, and Such-Like, by Melinda

According to "Specialty Produce" (click here), Torpedo onions are an Italian heirloom onion, usually picked in spring and early summer and used "uncured."  Another site notes that they originated in the Italian town of Tropea in Calabria; they were brought there over 2000 years ago by the Phoenicians! Now *that's* an heirloom!
Torpedo Onions (source)
In appearance, they're slender and longish, with a swelled middle that makes them resemble small footballs or torpedoes. Usually their thin skin is pale violet or reddish, occasionally white. If the onions look shiny & are not "cured" (our torpedo onions are uncured), they should be kept in fridge and used within a week.

Roasted Summer Squash with Torpedo Onions--This recipe doesn't specify amounts of certain ingredients because it's supposed to be a kind of laissez-faire dish; roasted veggie dishes are often that way.

  • 2 lbs smallish summer squash--i.e., zucchini
  • 1 globe eggplant (or substitute turnips to equal about the same amount)
  • one lb torpedo onions, trimmed of roots & any papery skin
  • fresh basil
  • dried Italian seasoning to taste (or chopped fresh oregano, thyme, sage, etc)
  • garlic, peeled & chopped in largish chunks
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Chop the veggies, onions, garlic, and basil (and any other fresh herbs you may be using). Coat the bottom of a baking pan lightly with olive oil. Put all veggies into pan & drizzle with more olive oil & balsamic vinegar (to taste) and sprinkle seasonings & salt atop. Toss & roast till veggies are tender and a bit browned. Yum city! Serve as a side, or as a main course over rice or other grains, or pasta. Adapted from the Agricultural Institute (click here).

Easy Grilled Torpedo Onions

  • 6 to 8 (1 bunch) torpedo onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Trim onion stems to within a half-inch of the onion; remove any skin & root. If small, leave whole. If largish, halve the onions vertically (the half inch of stem should help hold it together). Mix together oil, vinegar, salt, & pepper and brush the onions with this mixture. Grill over low, slow heat, brushing onions from time to time with the mix. (Alternatively, you can roast them in a pan in the oven at a low temp like 250-275, likewise brushing them occasionally with the mix.) The onions should have a chance to caramelize & be tender through; this normally will take 30-40 min. on a slow grill or slow oven.  (Recipe source)

Should you happen to like squid, click here for Grilled Squid and Torpedo Onions with Sorrel!

Concia Zucchini with Mint and Vinegar (from Cucina Ebraica by Joyce Goldstein)
  • 4-6 small zucchini, ~1.5 lbs
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint or basil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp red-wine or white-wine vinegar
Cut zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds, or to prepare it Veneto style, cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices (see above). Sprinkle with salt & let stand in a colander for 30 min. to drain off any bitter juices. Rinse & pat dry. In small bowl, combine mint (or basil), parsley, & garlic. Warm olive oil in frying pan on medium-high heat. In batches, add the zucchini & cook, turning as needed, till golden on both sides, 4-5 min. Transfer to shallow serving dish & sprinkle with some of the mint mix & some of the vinegar. Repeat w/ the rest of the zucchini, mint mix, & vinegar. Leave at room temp for 1 to 2 hrs, basting occasionally w/ vinegar in the dish, before serving.
Concia Zucchini (source)
Not enough for you???  For 577 zucchini recipes, see here from RecipeSource!

If for some reason we end up being flooded with zucchini and other summer squashes, see this issue of the Red Hill Root (page 2) for how to deal with zucchini in quantity!

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