A Quick History of the Vidalia Onion
Growing up in Georgia, Vidalia onions were apart of the spring/summer. Did you know that they are Georgia’s state vegetable!!?? They are ONLY grown in Vidalia, Georgia, which we southerners call them Vi-day-l-yuhs, NOT Vi-dahl-yahs. They really came as an accident. During the depression, farmers in GA were trying to find the cash crop. When their onions were harvested, they realized they were sweet! With the birth of the sweet Vidalia onion, the newly built farmers market in Southern GA, and the owner of Piggly Wiggly grocery store helping to market them, they soon became a success around the country. Though sweet onions are grown in other places, the distinct flavor comes from the sandy soils and milder climate.
They don’t tend to last on the shelf very long, but in order to preserve their life, stick them in the leg of a panty hose and put a knot at the end of each onion. Hang them from the ceiling and when ready to use one, just cut above the knot.
So, this delicious dish came to me by way of my mom. I can’t say that she really spent a whole lot of time in the kitchen, but this is one of the best dishes she ever made. I have doctored it a bit and adapted it to the GF life-style, but the truth be told, I can’t really say I notice a huge difference. When I asked her where it came from, thinking she’d tell me who passed it down to her, she told me she invented it. My respect for her grew right then and there!! Thanks mom for one of my favorite dishes!!
This makes a great side dish when invited to a party or hosting your own. Even if you don’t like onions, you’ll love this dish!!
Vidalia Onion Sweet Surprise
Serving Size: 6 full onions, feeds 6-8 people
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 6 Vidalia Onions, peeled and half cored; (sweet onions will work, too)
- 1 cup of brown sugar + 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- (you can substitute the 1/4 cup of sugar for 1/4 cup black strap molasses)
- 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup of corn flake crumbs or cracker/cereal substitute
(I usually buy them from Whole Foods or Amazon in bulk – 6 containers. I freeze what I’m not using.)
- 1/2 – 1 cup of parmesean cheese
- 1 tsp of salt (I prefer himalayan salt)
- 1 tsp of pepper
- pinch of dry mustard
- large pyrex dish
- coring knife
- sauce pan
- stirring spoon
- measuring cups and spoons
- Preheat oven to 425*F.
- Core onions from the top so that the root part is at the bottom. Create a well, so make sure to leave the bottom in tact. You’re going to put a filling in it later.
- Place onions in a pyrex dish.
- Chop the onions pieces you cored out and place them in the dish around the onions.
- Fill the dish about an 1/8″ full of water so that the onions won’t burn in the oven.
- Meanwhile, on the stove top over low heat (or microwave), melt the butter and brown sugar together, stirring constantly (about 1-2 minutes). You can always add more of anything. If you want the sauce thinner, add more butter. If you want it sweeter, add more brown sugar. I happen to have run out of brown sugar tonight, so I poured in some black strap molasses, too, and it worked perfectly. Then we also got the iron benefits of the molasses.
- Remove from saucepan from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir to evenly combine.
- Pour the sauce into the wells of each onion, and then pour the rest of the sauce over the chopped onion bits surrounding the onions.
- Bake for about 45 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the onions are softened.