Friday, March 6, 2009

Onions Offer Everyday Dishes Something Extra

(NAPSI)-One easy way to add a zesty burst of flavor to any meal is to slice up an onion. The inexpensive and versatile vegetable offers subtle variations of its tantalizing flavor during different seasons.

In spring and summer, the flavor of onions is milder as the vegetables have a higher water content, which is noticeable by their light-colored, thin skin.

That difference may be deliciously evident in this warm-weather meal--Stuffed Panini with Sautéed Onions. To vary the flavor, caramelize or grill the onions.

Stuffed Panini with Sautéed Onions

(Makes 4 servings)

2 medium to large onions, peeled and trimmed

3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

4 to 8 ounces sliced deli chicken or shredded leftover chicken

1 large red bell pepper, halved, seeded and sliced or 1 large tomato, sliced

2 cups fresh spinach

4 seeded burger buns or other large round rolls

4 slices Swiss cheese

Dry crumbled basil, to taste (optional)

Slice onions into rings and sauté in oil over medium heat for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Layer chicken, bell pepper (or tomato slice) and spinach leaves evenly onto bottoms of the 4 buns. Top each bun with sautéed onions, cheese and basil. Close buns. Place one sandwich at a time into preheated panini maker or other hinged contact grill (may fit two at a time with larger grill). Grill 10 to 12 minutes or until golden, hot and melted.

Note: If you don't have a hinged grill, cook sandwiches over medium-low heat about 10 minutes in a preheated, oiled heavy skillet, with another skillet pressing down on top. Watch the top pan as the buns cook. As the cheese melts, the buns may slide and the top pan may need to be stabilized.

More information and recipes are available at the National Onion Association Web site at www.onions-usa.org.

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