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Aug 20, 2014
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Stocking Up on Tropea onions

August 24th 02:08pm, 2011

082311_onionsWhen I stopped at the Claverach Farm booth at last week’s Maplewood Farmers’ Market, I saw what I believed to be overgrown shallots, which I love; they add just enough of a garlicky taste to recipes without overpowering them. But these shallots were huge – as big around as my fist – and elongated. My mind raced to think of all the ways I could prepare them: roasted whole with a little olive oil and sea salt, then tossed with pasta; lightly sautéed on a wilted salad; even pickled.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that my overgrown shallots were actually an heirloom variety of onion known as Tropea. Originally from Italy, these mild sweet red onions are also known as torpedo onions or simply sweet red Italians. Red onions are generally served raw and, typically, I don’t like them. Their taste is too sharp for me unless they’re cooked. Tropeas, however, are perfect: nicely mild and sweet, but not too sweet. I could easily imagine them folded into a grain salad mixed with a little feta cheese and other heirloom vegetables. They’d be great in black bean salsa, too, since their sweet taste wouldn’t compete with the spiciness of the peppers.

I bought a whole basket of Tropeas, which I now know as the onion in shallot clothing.

By Shannon Parker

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4 Responses to “Stocking Up on Tropea onions”

  1. jgriffs Says:
    August 24th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    just a friendly fyi…. they’re spelled Tropea….after Tropea a town on the coast in Calabria

  2. Stacy Schultz Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Ah yes, thank you very much! It’s correct now.

  3. pas2iche Says:
    August 25th, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    another fyi: went to Maplewood Market yesterday just to pick up some of these onions, and Claverach Farms doesn’t even have any. and they won’t have any for quite a while. in fact, they were rather stunned to learn that your publication had even mentioned them. the worst part is that we drove all the way from Arnold, and if not for the friendly confines of Schlafly, we would have been quite upset. in the future, please do the legwork for your readers.

  4. Stacy Schultz Says:
    August 26th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Hello, and thanks for taking the time to post your comment on our story. We are so so sorry to hear that you went out of your way to come to the market only to find that the onions were not available. We try our very best to confirm all of the details in each of our stories, and we never want to inconvenience our readers. I can confirm that our writer did indeed speak with a woman from Claverach Farm on August 17 who said that the onions would be available at the next week’s market, though I’m not sure whether that was the same individual you spoke to from Claverach. Unfortunately, this is one of the downfalls of farmers’ markets — very frequently, farmers do not know what they will bring from week to week, especially as the growing seasons winds down. We hope you can accept our apologies and that you will take a trip to our area farmers’ markets again, as they are sure to offer a bounty of fresh options that peek your interest!

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