• Yield: About 2 cups. Keeps 1 week in the refrigerator.

  • Time: 15 min prep, 45 min cooking, 1 hour total

Accompany grilled and roasted foods with this sweet and savory jam. Try it with fresh cheeses on crackers, or in sandwiches. Crusty browned tuna and other robust fish, or red meats are naturals with it, as are grilled greens. Taking your time in sauteing turns the onions sweet. Taste as you cook to judge amounts of vinegar and if sugar is needed. Seasoning options include chile, herbs, greek olives, capers, or anchovy. Experiment. Do use organic ingredients if possible.


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 5 to 6 medium red onions, thinly sliced

  • 10 large shallots, thinly sliced

  • 8 to 10 big cloves garlic (not Elephant type), thinly sliced

  • salt and generous freshly ground black pepper

  • shredded zest of 2 large oranges (optional)

  • 1/4 cup currants or raisins (optional)

  • 1 small fresh tomato, peeled, or a canned tomato

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)



Heat oil in a 12-inch saute pan over medium high. Add onions, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper, tossing to combine. Once they begin sizzling, turn heat to medium low, cover pan and cook 30 minutes, adding zest and raisins half way through cooking. Once onions become soft and clear, uncover, raising heat to medium high.


Brown the onions. Stir often, scraping up the brown glaze on the bottom of the pan. You may need a little water as they approach being done. Once deep gold, stir in tomato and 1/4 cup vinegar, cooking it down to nothing.


Taste for a soft sweet-tart balance. If necessary, cook in a little sugar, or more vinegar. Tomato should meld into the onions, while the vinegar cooks down to an appealing backdrop, not a sharp accent. Cool quickly and pack in jars. Keep cold, but serve close to room temperature.

Copyright 1997 Lynne Rossetto Kasper.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.