Baked Vidalia Onions

Baked onions, fried oysters, grits and butternut squash come together for an elegant appetizer.

By / Photography By Cole LoCurto | December 01, 2017

Ingredients

For Onions
  • 4 small Vidalia onions, peeled
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
For Cornmeal Fried Oysters
  • 24 raw oysters
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
For Grits and Squash
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into quarter-inch strips
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup grits
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

To make onions: Preheat oven to 275°. Trim top and bottom of onions and place in a baking dish. Cover three-quarters from top of onions with chicken and beef stock. Add a tablespoon of butter on top of each onion along with light brown sugar, thyme, black peppercorns, bay leaf and salt to taste. Bake onions,turning them every 20 minutes, until golden brown, about one and a half hours.

To make oysters: Drain oysters in a bowl. Beat eggs, add drained oysters and let stand for 10 minutes. Mix cornmeal, sugar, salt and pepper. Dip oysters in cornmeal mixture and fry in batches in deep oil at about 350°. Drain on dry paper towel to absorb moisture and set aside.

To make grits and butternut squash: In a sauté pan,cook bacon until crispy, then set aside. In a baking pan, season the butternut squash with brown sugar, cinnamon and apple juice. Roast until tender, then set aside. In a medium pot, bring 3 cups of water to a simmer. Slowly add grits, stir and cook until all water is absorbed, about 30 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat, fold in Parmesan and mascarpone, then add thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix bacon with the grits and fold in the roasted butternut squash, saving a little for garnish.

To assemble dish: Arrange 2 tablespoons of grits mixture on each plate. Add a baked onion on top of the grits. Mix 2 tablespoons of grits with the fried oysters and fill the onion. Garnish with leftover squash and chopped parsley.

 

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Ingredients

For Onions
  • 4 small Vidalia onions, peeled
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
For Cornmeal Fried Oysters
  • 24 raw oysters
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
For Grits and Squash
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into quarter-inch strips
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup grits
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
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