Pearl Onions au Gratin

Pearl Onions au Gratin: I love this recipe – cream, onions, bacon and lots of cheese.This onion recipe is the perfect cool weather recipe – perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years. I always thought that a pearl onion was just a small onion.  After doing some research, I learned that a pearl onion is actually a close relative of the leek. It is different from common onions because it has only a single storage leaf, similar to cloves of garlic rather than a traditional onion.

Pearl Onions au Gratin

Fresh pearl onions in a mixture of cream, garlic, shallots and bacon, then tops it all with a crispy panko crust.

* 2 1/2 pounds red or white pearl onions
* 4 thick strips of bacon, finely diced
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 shallots, finely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

* ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or coarse, dry bread crumbs
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Use a sharp knife to trim off the root ends, then pinch the onions to remove the skins.

In a medium, deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderately heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour the bacon fat into a heatproof cup and reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons. Drain the bacon on paper towels. When cool enough to handle crumble the bacon.

Add the butter to the skillet along with the shallots and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and parmesan and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pearl onions to a large, shallow baking dish and cover with the cream.

In a small bowl, toss the panko with the bacon, parsley and the 1 1/2 teaspoons of reserved bacon fat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the crumb mixture over the onions. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the crumbs are toasted and the onions are bubbling, about 30 minutes.

 Pearl Onions au Gratin Recipe Serves 10.