• Yield: Serves 6

I love making this dish with the onions from the farmer's market, but the recipe works just fine with storage onions too. With their golden, caramelized surfaces framed by the sides of an earthenware gratin dish, these onions look spectacular, yet they require minimal effort to prepare. They're perfect for winter holidays in place of the traditional creamed onions. Look for firm onions with crisp, papery skins.


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 large yellow onions, halved and peeled

  • salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 3 sprigs of sage and several long sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • dash of sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar, to taste


1. In a wide skillet, melt the butter and oil over medium-high heat then add the onions, placing them cut-side down. Cook until they're well browned, about 15 minutes, checking their progress occasionally. Those on the outside of the pan usually take longer to cook, so part-way through, exchange them with those in the middle. When browned, turn them over and cook them on the curved side for a few minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

2. Line the bottom of a 10-inch earthenware dish, such as a round Spanish casserole or other appropriate baking dish, with the herbs. Place the onions, browned side up, on the herbs and pour in the wine. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees until tender when pierced with a knife, an hour or slightly longer. Serve warm with an additional grinding of pepper and a dash of vinegar.

From The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook, by Deborah Madison.