Side Orders: Simple dip celebrates Vidalia onion season

Anne Braly
Anne Braly

We're smack dab in the heart of Vidalia onion season - those amazing sweet onions that we wait for all winter long. We eat them as is, just removing the skin and diving right in, or add them to recipes, as they give just the right amount of sweetness and oniony flavors to sauces and savory dishes, such as baked Vidalia onion dip.

On occasion, I enjoy making a dip such as this one and serving it for dinner with a salad. It makes for a very casual meal that's perfect for a weekend night.

This dip challenges my all-time favorite spinach-artichoke dip, made with the simple addition of mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese. And as quick and easy as that one is, this one is even easier to make, and it's bursting with fresh onion flavor as opposed to that questionable onion dip made with dry onion soup mix. Not sure if it's the sweet onion, the mix of cheeses or a combination, but it just works.

Some people like to caramelize their onions for a dip like this, and that's just fine. But keep them raw, and the flavor really comes through. Sliced thinly, the onions cook up perfectly in the oven, retaining just a hint of crunch and that wonderful taste of the season's sweet onions.

The dip has an appealing creamy color under its lightly browned crust and looks quite lovely on a platter with baguette slices that have been brushed with olive oil and toasted to a tempting golden brown.

Baked Vidalia Onion Dip

1 large Vidalia onion (or other sweet onion, such as Palmetto Sweets, Walla Walla or Texas Super Sweets)

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

4 dashes hot sauce

2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 large baguette, cut into slices

Olive oil

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel and slice the onion in half. Then slice it in half again, and cut 3 of the sections into very fine slices. Take the last piece, and mince it. Put the onion in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, and mix well until everything is thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased ovenproof casserole, and bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.

While the dip is baking, slice a baguette, and brush with olive oil. Toast, and serve with warm dip.

Note: Pita chips are also good with this dip.

DeKalb Farmers Market

I've been making frequent trips to Atlanta the past few years as often as possible to visit my daughter, son-in-law and new grandchildren, but it wasn't until my most recent trip south that I had the chance to experience a market that's the size of a football field with every conceivable food you'd ever want.

The DeKalb Farmers Market calls itself a "world market," and for good reason. There are fruits and vegetables from around the world, freshly milled spices (such as a nice-size container of curry powder for $1.54, compared to the same amount of McCormick curry powder I paid almost $6 for at Walmart), pastries, meats and seafood, wine, beer, cookbooks, prepared foods, kitchenwares the list of things you'll find there is endless.

Plan on spending some time at the market. Do a walk-through first to plan your attack, then gwo for it. The market is located in Decatur, a few miles outside Atlanta, at 3000 E. Ponce de Leon Ave. Take cash, checks or debit cards. Credit cards are not accepted.

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