If I had stayed on schedule with the 'Throwback Thursday' posts I started in February, I should be posting a recipe from the 1980's this week. Everything happens for a reason though, right? Maybe it's not a coincidence that there were a couple of hiccups along the way and the week I cover the 60's is the same week that the final episodes of 'Mad Men' begin to air. I am a huge fan of the show and well, I have yet to fully admit to myself that after these last seven episodes, it will be over. Sometime in the near future, you may find me in a darkened room, bingeing on the series all over again.
This recipe is exactly the kind of dish I could see Betty Draper making as part of dinner where Don brings home a client to sweet talk into letting Sterling Cooper run their next advertising campaign. She'd be wearing something pastel with a coordinating chiffon hostess apron--a cigarette in one hand, a potholder in the other as she opens the oven door and pulls out a Pyrex casserole filled to every nook with onions, golden and baked to perfection. Simmering in a sauce of stock, honey, lemon, and butter, baked long enough that the onions keep their shape, but soften to the point where they practically melt in your mouth with each bite. A dish so simple to pull together, just right to serve with roast chicken. No...scratch that. Not chicken. Cornish hen. Each guest made to feel special by having their own. The kind of special gesture that convinces you that Don is your man.
The Spice Islands Cookbook, originally published in 1961, is a perfect example of a cookbook from the 60's. Kitschy graphics, helpful charts, and lovely recipes such as Eggs in Aspic. I wish I was kidding about that one. I'm not. But don't hold that recipe against the book. It was the 60's, after all.
Adapted from a recipe in The Spice Islands Cookbook
2 large yellow onions
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp lemon zest, grated
1/4 tsp paprika
2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
1 tsp black sesame seeds
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel outer skins from onions and slice in half. Place in casserole of baking dish, large enough to hold onions, but not so small that onions are crowded. In a small bowl, whisk together the stock, one tablespoon of the butter, salt, honey, paprika, and lemon zest. Once mixed, pour oven onions. Cover baking dish with foil and bake until onions are tender, 50 minutes to an hour. In a small skillet, melt the remaining butter, adding the panko and sesame seeds, heating until slightly toasted. Remove foil from baking dish, sprinkle bread crumbs over onions, and bake uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes, until crumbs turn golden brown.
Serve on their own or over rice.