Sweeten Up Your Meals With Floribbean Dishes, Featuring OsoSweet Onions

MIAMI, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ — Acclaimed cookbook author Chef Aliza Green, whose latest effort is Starting with Ingredients: Quintessential Recipes for the way we Really Cook, has created a special menu of colorful Floribbean dishes that feature OsoSweet onions. Floribbean fare is a style of cooking that combines the best of Florida’s traditions with Caribbean and Cuban flavors.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070124/AQW010)

“One of the chief ingredients for Floribbean cuisine is onions,” says Green, national spokesperson for OsoSweets. “In the winter months, this can be a challenge, since most sweet onions are Spring and Summer crops. Thankfully, OsoSweet onions, which are grown in Chile, are in season from January to March and are just the thing to bring a sweet-sharp flavor to these dishes.” (RECIPES ATTACHED)

Green’s special menu features a variety of make-ahead dishes that the whole family can kick back and enjoy. Try Green’s surprising, tart-sweet orange and onion salad, or find out why empanadas, the Spanish hand-held meal-in-a-pocket (here made with chicken and corn) are devoured from Buenos Aires to Miami. Tired of the same old ground beef dishes? Green’s chunky Cuban beef picadillo, which is fragrant with oregano and cumin, is so good you may want to make a double batch! Green’s Florida fish sandwich with its fresh lime and OsoSweet onion tartar sauce will evoke memories of sand and surf.

Due to their naturally high sugar concentration — up to 50 percent more than other onions — OsoSweets put forth a strikingly sweet flavor that, although mild, does not compromise the tangy onion taste that cooks expect. Best of all, OsoSweet onions contain so little pyruvic acid — the substance that causes tearing, harshness, and indigestion — they are gentle enough for people of all ages. Extremely versatile, OsoSweet onions caramelize beautifully and whether eaten raw on sandwiches and salads or cooked, they add a wonderfully rounded depth of flavor to most any dish.

Cookbook author, journalist and pioneering chef, Green has an impressive and diverse cooking background. She has traveled the globe in a lifelong quest for culinary knowledge. With her highly acclaimed books she has gained a reputation for her far-reaching expertise with familiar and exotic ingredients, as well as a knack for extensive research, down-to-earth advice and her delicious, easy-to-make recipes.

In her latest gastronomic masterpiece, Starting with Ingredients, Green offers an amazing range of creative resources, from A to Z, with the intention of enhancing home cooks’ plates. Each chapter explains the origins and best uses for ingredients that she describes as the fundamentals of good cookery, including a variety of descriptions, and a host of recipes that demonstrate the intrinsic flavors of each ingredient. In a chapter devoted to onions, Green extols the virtues of OsoSweets, describing their crisp, firm texture, and mild-sweet taste as a perfect accompaniment to many dishes that home cooks can use to profoundly enhance their repertoires.

For more information about Chef Aliza Green, visit her website at http://www.alizagreen.com/. For more information on OsoSweet onions, visit the website http://www.ososweetonions.com/.

Chef Aliza Green’s Floribbean Recipes

Florida Flounder Sandwich With Lime and OsoSweet Onion Tartar Sauce

 

A pan-fried fish sandwich is a beach shack favorite in Florida, often made with native grouper. In other parts of the country, flounder fillet works just fine. The crunchy crust made from Japanese panko breadcrumbs holds in moisture so the fish is juicy inside. For those who love lime, increase the amount to the juice of two limes and don’t forget the OsoSweet onions, which add their own sweet, mild crunch to the sauce.

Serves: 6

Tartar Sauce

2 tablespoons each chopped parsley

Green olives

Pickle relish

2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped

Juice and grated zest of 1 lime

1/2 cup finely diced OsoSweet onion

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)

3/4 cup mayonnaise

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

Fish

Fluke, halibut, grouper or cod, cut into (2- to 3-ounce) pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups Japanese panko breadcrumbs or other breadcrumbs 1 cup vegetable oil

(for frying)

2 long French baguette or Italian breads, split open with some of soft

insides removed

1 OsoSweet onion, thinly sliced

2 tomatoes, sliced

Green leaf lettuce, separated into individual leaves, washed and dried

 

For tartar sauce, stir all ingredients together and refrigerate. Season fish with salt and pepper. Lightly beat together eggs and milk. Set up three bowls: flour, egg mixture and half the panko. Dip each piece of fish into flour, shaking off excess. Next, dip into egg mixture, allowing excess liquid to drip off. Finally, dip in crumbs, coating well on all sides. (Add second half of panko to bowl as needed, so crumbs stay dry.) Arrange fish on a waxed paper-lined baking tray and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight. In large, heavy skillet, heat half the oil until shimmering. Lay fish pieces in oil without crowding, turn pieces as they brown. Fry until firm and well-browned, about 6 minutes; repeat with remaining fish. Drain and keep warm in 200 degrees F oven. Spread baguettes with tartar sauce on both sides. Arrange fish in single layer on each piece of bread, top with onion, tomato and lettuce; close, cut in portions and serve.

Cuban Picadillo

Picadillo is a tasty mixture of ground or finely chopped meat, often beef, simmered with aromatics like sweet onion and garlic and seasoned with the bold flavors of cumin and sherry vinegar from Spain that are a big hit throughout Latin America. Picadillo comes from the Spanish “picar,” which means “to cut into small pieces.”

Serves: 6 to 8

2 pounds ground beef

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1 cup diced OsoSweet onions

1 green pepper, diced

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pimento stuffed

Green olives

2 tablespoons red

Wine vinegar

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

 

In large skillet, brown beef in 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat; drain and reserve. In same skillet lightly brown onion, pepper and garlic in remaining oil. Add tomatoes, cumin and oregano; bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened. Stir in beef, raisins, olives and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring back to boil, simmer 10 minutes and serve over steamed rice with sauteed sliced ripe plantains and black beans.

Tip: Make double batch and freeze half for up to three months. Defrost in microwave.

Tip: Use Texmati rice, a hybrid of American long grain rice, with Indian basmati for fluffy results.

Chicken and Corn Empanadas

Empanadas, which come from the Spanish word for “bread,” are baked or fried turnovers made from bread, pastry, phyllo or even pizza dough. Here we prepare these make-ahead Latino favorites with flaky, defrosted frozen crescent rolls, but feel free to substitute your own favorite savory dough.

Makes: 8 large empanadas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup diced OsoSweet onion

1 diced red bell pepper

1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)

1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

2 teaspoons oregano

3 cups (1 pound) diced cooked chicken

6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

2 14-ounce packages frozen crescent rolls, defrosted

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

 

In large skillet, heat oil and lightly brown OsoSweet onion. Add pepper, pepper flakes, corn and oregano and cook 5 minutes over moderate heat or until liquid has mostly cooked away. Remove from heat; stir in chicken and cheese, season to taste and chill.

Unroll crescent dough into two perforated squares; Place one square over second. Roll out with a little flour to form a single, large rectangular sheet. Cut out four circles about 5 inches in diameter; repeat with remaining package of rolls. Refrigerate circles on waxed paper until firm, about 30 minutes. Spoon 1/4 cup filling into center of each circle, leaving border.

Brush edges with egg mixture. Fold over to seal, stretching dough slightly. Press edges together while pushing out any air pockets; seal by crimping with tines of a fork. Brush top with egg wash and prick with fork. Arrange empanadas on buttered and floured baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to bake, up to two days ahead of time. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until puffy and brown and filling is bubbling hot.

Tip: Use rotisserie-roasted chicken here.

Florida Orange and OsoSweet Onion Salad

Serve this cheery, bright-colored salad on the dull, dreary midwinter days. You won’t believe how sweet, mild and deliciously crunchy the raw sweet onions marinated in lemon and olive oil can be.

Serves: 6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Juice of 1 lemon

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

1 thinly sliced OsoSweet onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Grated zest of 1 orange

Salt and black pepper to taste

6 large navel oranges

2 tablespoons chopped dill

 

Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil with lemon juice, salt and pepper; pour marinade over onion and marinate 20 minutes. Whisk together remaining oil, vinegar, orange zest, salt and pepper for dressing. Remove rind and white membrane from oranges and cut into thin slices. Arrange orange slices on serving platter, drizzle with dressing, top with onions, sprinkle with dill and serve.