Eat Fresh

Star Ingredient of the Season: Onions

How to eat (and cook) this allium without shedding a tear.

By Victoria Haneveer March 2, 2017

Pixabay photo 2 k0mdrz

Image: Pixabay

The onion harvest in Texas starts at the beginning of March and lasts until late May. This is earlier than other onion-growing states such as California, where harvest takes place in April, or Oregon, where onions aren't harvested until August. If you're familiar with our local weather, though, you will be able to guess why!

There are practically infinite varieties of onions to choose from, including green onions, yellow, white and red-skinned versions. The Texas Super Sweet, or 1015Y, is one of the most popular yellow onion breeds locally, and given its name, it's no surprise this onion grows best in our neighborhood.

How to Use Onions in Cooking

Onions are an essential component in many cuisines, and you find them in so many different recipes. They are often overlooked, despite being the workhorse of the kitchen. And of because of the chemical irritant, syn-propanethial-S-oxide,  they're known to make even the toughest chefs shed a tear. Although onions aren't often the main ingredient in a dish, they do a wonderful job in supporting the savory flavor, often paired with garlic. Add chopped onions to stews, curries, salads or casseroles, use them to add crunch to tacos or sandwiches, or snip green onions over your soup or stir-fry to add a splash of color and a complementary taste.

Onions can be pickled, fried, sautéed, baked, roasted, grilled, or slow-cooked. But they can be the centerpiece—most famous dishes featuring this vegetable include French onion soup, onion rings and creamy onion dip. Don't forget Outback Steakhouse's Bloomin' Onion!

In a Starring Role at: Vallone's

Choose from the French onion soup or onion rings if you're heading to this charming steakhouse. The soup is made the traditional way, boasting plenty of hearty, rich beef flavor, and of course a Gruyère-topped crouton. The onion rings are crispy and crunchy, and they go beautifully with a steak. This eclectic restaurant offers homemade pasta dishes as well as hand-cut steaks, fish, and plenty of delicious sides. There is also plenty to choose from on the extensive wine list. What varietal goes best with onion rings?

Pixabay photo 1 auyxw1

Image: Pixabay

Recipe: Spicy Onion Rings

See if you can find 1015Y onions to make this onion rings recipe. They will add plenty of flavor and sweetness. If not, any kind of sweet yellow onion, such as Vidalia, will work. We are soaking the onions in buttermilk first to add a tangy taste and mellow any harshness. The buttermilk also leaves a sticky surface on the onions, which helps the batter to adhere. We are adding chile powder for a kick, but you can use smoked paprika for an exotic puff of smoke, instead. The onion rings only take a few minutes to fry. Once they're golden brown and crispy, they're done.


  • 3 peeled sweet yellow onions
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Oil, for deep-frying


Cut the onions into 1/4-inch slices and soak them for half an hour in the buttermilk. Mix the flour with the chile powder and salt, then drain the onions and dredge them in the flour mixture. Pour 4 or 5 inches of oil into a heavy pot. Heat it to 375 degrees F, and fry the onion rings for two or three minutes per side, or until golden. It's best to do this in batches. Drain them on paper towels, then sprinkle with salt and serve hot.

Stay tuned every week to learn more about what's fresh and exciting at the market and discover where you can enjoy the flavorful bounty of the season. 

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