by Malcolm Jolley
As a teenager I loved Jim Harrison’s hunting, fishing and hard drinking novels (I still do). Later, I discovered his food writing and realised that interspersed into his tales of lost men wanting to do right by Mother Nature (and an elusive woman they truly loved but tragically could not be with) were the accounts of some fantastic meals. In particular, I remember the simple lunch, accompanied by spring water, prepared and enjoyed in the Michigan woods alone by Joseph, the protagonist of 1975’s Farmer: a sandwich of raw onion slices with butter. Delicious, if not altogether subtle.
If ever there was a time of year for a walk in the woods and a raw onion sandwich, it’s now. I think the poor old regular onion has been somewhat neglected in the annals of gastronomy lately. I’ve written a lot about fresh garlic, scapes, green garlic, ramps (or wild leeks, if you insist), leeks, scallions and everything alluvium except actual onions. If you can find them look for Perth County’s Soiled Reputation farm’s purple-red “torpedo” variety, as sweet and sharp as they are beautiful to behold.
Applications are myriad: sliced on a burger is as seasonally appropriate as can be. Or Greek salad. When the tomatoes come in, I love an old school fresh tomato sauce made first by sautéing fresh local red onions in butter and finished with torn leaves of basil and nothing else.
Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director ofGood Food Media, the non-profit organization that publishes GFR. Follow him at twitter.com/malcolmjolley. Photo: John Gundy.