Alifana onion 55%, sugar, white wine, sultanas, bay leaves, cloves.
Antonietta Melillo's Sweet and Sour Onion has been awarded the Dino Villani 2020 prize by the Italian Academy of Cuisine for its organoleptic characteristics that make it pleasing to the palate.
It has an intense coppery colour, a sweet, aromatic but not pungent flavour, an excellent texture, crunchy and firm flesh, white with purplish reflections.
Cut into round slices and cooked in a sweet and sour sauce with balsamic vinegar and honey, it offers a pleasant contrast of flavours, ideal as an accompaniment to mature cheeses, as an hors d'oeuvre, as a side dish or on tasty bruschetta.
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History and tradition of stewed onions
When we talk about stewed fruit, we are talking about a product that is better than jam or marmalade. We are talking about a product that contains a very high concentration of fruit and less sugar, and lately it is also made with vegetables such as onions, peppers, tomatoes and pumpkin. The combination of sugar and onion may seem new, but it is in fact an old one that is winning over more and more palates, who appreciate its sweet and sour taste and enjoy experimenting with unusual and refined combinations in the kitchen.
We have to go back to the time of the Serenissima Republic of Venice (17th century) to find an example of an onion compote; sailors used to preserve fried sardines with saòr, a condiment made of vinegar, sugar and onions, to prevent them from spoiling during the long months spent on board. Onion compote is certainly a niche product; because of its unique flavour, it is only made by small, mostly family-run, artisanal producers.
Combinations with onion compote
The classic combination is with toasted bread to make a different kind of bruschetta to serve as an aperitif, but the most popular is certainly with cheeses, both fresh and medium or long matured: when the sweet and sour flavour enhances the delicacy of ricotta and goat's milk cheeses, and balances the important character of mature pecorino and Tome cheeses. A gourmet combination is with soft Gorgonzola, spread on canapés and topped with a teaspoon of compote, or to give crostini a special touch by combining it with goose liver or chicken liver pâté, or to embellish mixed boiled meats.