Lauren Groveman a recipe for delicious living

Sweet & Sour Red Onions

(February 5, 2008)
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Jacqueline asked Lauren:

Dear Lauren,

This is your fellow "Gazette columnist," Jacqueline Plumez (the Career Doctor), with a question for you. Someone gave me two jars of Balsamic Sweet Onion Jam and I have no idea what to do with this stuff. Put it over cream cheese with crackers? Put it on top of chicken cutlets and bake them?? Any ideas would be appreciated.

Lauren says...

So good to hear from you!! As far as how to use your gift of Sweet Onion Jam, without having tasted it, I would guess that spooning some on top of slices of hot Garlic Toasts, would be great. I would put an undercoat of goat cheese (on top of the toast and under the jam) which I think would be more interesting-tasting than plain cream cheese. Personally, I love to make a table condiment, using red onions, butter, brown sugar and vinegar. It's delicious, really easy and fabulous on top of garlic toasts, on burgers, or on chicken fajitas, etc. So, when your jam is all used up, I hope you'll try this wonderful recipe for my Sweet & Sour Red Onions.

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Sweet & Sour Red Onions

Yield: about 1½ cups, serves 4

Sweet & Sour Red Onions

If it were up to me, I'd park a bowl of these cooked onions on the table every night. In addition to tasting great piled over a simple burger, they're wonderful with grilled chops, in omelets or even as a filling for grilled cheese sandwiches. They're also great with cooked sliced boneless steak and chicken, all wrapped in warmed flour tortillas.

    For the onions:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large red onions, sliced through the stem end into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown or granulated sugar

Heat a 12-inch, heavy-bottomed, deep-sided nonreactive skillet over high heat and, when hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, stir in the onion strips and cook them, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar, tossing well to combine. Continue to cook the onions, over high heat, until tender and the vinegar has been totally absorbed by the onions, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions, stirring frequently, until the sugar has begun to caramelize, clinging to the onions, giving them a very enticing golden color, without allowing the onions to burn. Transfer the onions to a bowl and serve them either hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Time Management Tips:

  • Lauren LogoThe onions can be sautéed several hours ahead and kept at a comfortable room temperature, loosely covered. If you'd like to serve them hot, reheat the onions gently, either in the microwave or on the stove, over low heat.

Garlic Toasts

Yield: 6 to 9 slices

These are my accompaniment to cheese, spreads, soups and salads. The sliced bread can be seasoned a day ahead and kept chilled, on its baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap. These are just delicious.


  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley or fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 6 to 9 slices crusty Italian bread (preferably with sesame seeds
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1) To prepare garlic oil: In a bowl combine olive oil with minced garlic, pepper, oregano and parsley or basil, if using.

2) To prepare garlic toasts: Brush each side of the sliced bread with the seasoned oil and sprinkle lightly with freshly ground black pepper. Place slices on a shallow baking sheet and, sprinkle tops only with grated Parmesan cheese. Broil bread until golden on both sides, turning once (after turning the toasts and toasting the second side, return to the other side so the cheese-side doesn't stick to the sheet). Serve hot.


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Lauren Groveman recipes have been featured in many national magazines and local newspapers. Her books "The I love to Cook Book: Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking for Family and Friends" and "Lauren Groveman's Kitchen, Nurturing Food for Family and Friends" are available through

For in depth information on Lauren Groveman as a writer, teacher, TV & radio host, as well as her recipes and cooking tips visit her website at

Lauren is a Larchmont resident. She is happily married and blessed with three wonderful children.