Here’s what this dish is… it’s an easy prep with two unfussy ingredients, an easy bake (toss into oven, spoon around on the rimmed baking sheet maybe four times in the hour cook), and can be made into a meal with some good bread to swirl in the sauce.
We’re both new here so a few things about me and onions… and cooking for that matter. I love being in the kitchen making food. I love it. There are days when I don’t get to cook and I feel like just chopping an onion or smashing a clove of garlic anyway. There’s something about the familiar activity that precedes a meal that makes my mind feel both relaxed and engaged at the same time.
If I’m having a bad day, often a few minutes with a good knife, my favorite cutting board, and an onion are all I need to set it right.
But, when I first read this one in Deb Perlman’s first cookbook, I hopped right over it. She does this up with cipollini onions, which, surprisingly given my love for chopping onions, are never quite worth it in my home kitchen. They require too much work to get their skins off and I’ve found I’d rather just skip it. Maybe I don’t have the technique down? Whatever it is, I avoid.
But it’s Deb and if she opens the headnotes with, “This is my desert-island dish,” how can I justify not at least trying it once? (Sometimes I riff off of recipes right from the start but I do try it as written the first time as often as I can. It helps me from getting stuck in ruts and move outside my comfort zone.)
The verdict; tremendous. But it didn’t convert me to a cipollini fan. I tried it again with yellow onions chopped into large chunks, roughly the size of cipollini onions and boom! It came together lightning fast and kept all the deep, rich flavors from the first go.
She completes this dish with a can of white beans, which I skip in favor of bread or naan for smearing up the sauce when licking the bowl isn’t an option.
4 to 5 cups small tomatoes, rinsed and tiny green tops removed
2 yellow onions, chopped in large chunks
A good pour of olive oil
Basil or parsley to finish, optional
Heat oven to 375°
Toss onions and tomatoes around on a rimmed sheet pan with a good glug of olive oil. You want to coat them well and it’ll contribute to the sauce. I use my hands.
Salt and toss again.
Toss in oven and stir every 15 minutes or so. You’re looking for the tomatoes to burst, the onions to get fully cooked and release some liquid, and for the pan juice to just begin to thicken.
Transfer all, every last drop, to a wide rimmed plate or bowl and serve with plenty of bread or naan to sop up the juices.
You can serve this over white beans instead of, or in addition to, bread.