• Yield: Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 to 8 as a side dish

  • Time: 10 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking, 30 minutes total

These generous wedges of red onion marinate in wine, olive oil and herbs, then turn crusty on the grill. Outstanding as a side dish, they could also be a meal unto themselves. We always make enough for leftovers because the onions make such a good lunch the next day with bread and cheese.

Every country cook used to have a collection of favorite onion recipes because onions grow easily in kitchen gardens and keep well through the winter in root cellars. Today they head the produce list of great bargains. Pair the onions with grilled and roasted meats like Essential Grilled Steak, and vegetables like Ginger-Grilled Miso Eggplant, or mix leftovers into our Golden Rice Salad.

The onions reheat well and can be refrigerated up to 4 days.


  • 1/4 cup dry red wine

  • 1/4 cup good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 6 medium red onions (3-1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 4 wedges each with root end intact so the sections don’t come apart

  • Leaves from 3 branches of fresh thyme

  • Leaves from 2 4-inch sprigs of fresh rosemary

  • Generous 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground 4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. A couple of hours before grilling, stir together the olive oil, wine and tomato paste in a large (about 8 quarts) bowl. Add the onion wedges along with the herbs and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper and gently combine to coat the onions. Let stand 1 to 4 hours at room temperature.

2. Prepare the fire for two zones and let coals burn until a grey ash forms. If using a gas grill, set one burner at medium-high and another at medium low.

3. Oil the grill and spread the onion wedges, with their marinade clinging to them, over the hotter side of the grill to sear for a few minutes on one side. Turn carefully with tongs or a spatula and sear the other side. Move the pieces to the cooler side of the grill. Baste with any of the marinade left in the bowl and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning gently for even cooking. You want them to have a little resistance when pierced with a knife. Lift them onto a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

From A Summertime Grilling Guide by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. Copyright © 2012 by American Public Media.

Sally Swift
Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.
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.