The Last Vidalia

IMG_0990Did you miss them?

For a brief period–just a few weeks–they show up in our Georgia grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Then they are gone. And more often than not, you have to get there just as the green grocer is unpacking them or you are out of luck, because chances are, they will be sold out immediately.

OK, maybe not everyone is that passionate about onions, but baby Vidalias are a true seasonal treat. If you manage to find some still, grab ’em all and figure out what to do with them later. For me, there’s really only one way to prepare them–drizzled in olive oil and roasted in the oven. The more traditional way to prepare spring onions of any variety–called cebollitas in Mexico–is to grill them, but the broiler works just fine.

One bunch of baby Vidalia onions
Olive oil

I know: not much of a recipe, right?

Wash the baby onions, removing the outer layer if necessary. Cut off all but about three or four inches of the green stems. Split any large onions, especially if the onion already has two bulbs. Rub each in olive oil and lay in a single layer in a glass dish. Salt aggressively.

Place under the broiler, set on high, on the second rack. Broil for about five to ten minutes, watching to make sure the onions don’t burn. You want the green stems to start to crisp and for the entire onion to start to brown. Watch also for spattering oil–it can get smoky, and you definitely want to avoid flare-ups.

Turn the onions and cook for another five minutes under a high broiler. Lower the broiler to low and cook for about another five minutes.

Cebollitas are a great side dish to go with grilled steak. They also make a great little appetizer. The only problem with them is–you only have a couple of weeks to enjoy them.

In fact, the sad, solo cebollita pictured above is the last known baby Vidalia onion within a 25-mile radius of Atlanta, last seen on the end of my fork.

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