Sweet and creamy herbed baked onions

words by Gina Weathersby
photography and styling by Gina Weathersby/kiwi street studios

Have I ever mentioned that my ‘other’ profession is that of a stylist? Not a food stylist (although i do style the food I cook up for my blog posts) but one of a make up stylist, make up artist or mua. It’s my job to make sure all ‘on camera talent’ look and feel their best. Sometimes it’s fashion based, sometimes it’s just dusting and straightening, sometimes it’s wildly artistic. Always fun and always different. One recent job was for one of our regional restaurants, Frisch’s Big Boy, and their new campaign of sourcing fresh, natural ingredients for their menu. Our first day of shooting was on a farm an hour outside of the city…before daybreak. As the first hints of the sun were starting, members of the crew, as did I, stood and looked out at the horizon waiting for the first glimpse of the sun. It finally came. clear, bright and beautiful. an amazing way to start our day.

One wonderful aspect of what I do are the people i am lucky enough to meet and spend some time with. On this job, it was Frisch’s Director of Culinary, Greg Crisanti. A gentle, generous, and passionate man of food and family. We had time to chat about both and I look forward to meeting up again soon and continuing those conversations.

Our shot list was a fun one; Greg in the fields with cows behind him, Greg in the perfectly dusty barn with bags of grains, and Greg in the vegetable patch with fresh plump tomatoes and fresh, just out of the ground, sweet onions. I admit, as soon as I saw the freshly plucked onions (and the shot was done) I quickly ‘borrowed’ one and went off to shoot a few iphone frames. Happiness.  As I returned the onion to the farmer’s wife, she quickly offered it back to me along with a couple more freshly picked ‘props’ from the set. Overjoyed.

The shoot went smooth; smooth enough for me to be slightly preoccupied with thoughts of how to prepare these jewels. Once home, I turned to my new cookbook chef obsession, Nigel Slater. He did not disappoint. Simple, roasted whole onions. 5 hours out of the earth, olive oil, thyme, kosher salt, flower pepper, a 400 degree oven, finished off with a touch of sauteed mushrooms and creme…sweet, creamy layer after layer. Perfection. I hope you make it to your favorite farmer’s market, pick out some big, plump, beautiful onions, bring them home and make this treat for your family, or just for yourself.


sweet and creamy herbed baked onions
Recipe type: vegetable
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
sweet layers of tender baked onions atop mushrooms and creme
  • 8 oz. your choice of mushrooms (I used pre-sliced baby Portabellas)
  • 4 medium to large onions, kept whole
  • 2 small cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 ½ T butter
  • 1 ½ T plus 3 T olive oil
  • 6-7 sprigs of fresh thyme plus some for serving
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • kosher salt/pepper to taste
  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. wash and place the onions (skin left on) in a deep pot of gently boiling water. (the water should cover the onions) Simmer for about 20-30 minutes until tender and the layers come apart if pulled. They will be soft in the middle.
  3. when the onions are soft, drain them and place them in a shallow baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  4. gently open each onion and drizzle with 3 T of olive oil, sprinkle with salt/pepper. add half the sprigs of thyme over all the onions.
  5. bake for about 20-30 minutes or until onions start to caramelize and get nice and brown in color.
  6. while the onions are in the baking, wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth and set aside.
  7. place a large sauté pan on med/high heat and add butter and 1 ½ T olive oil. heat till frothy.
  8. add the garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn it.
  9. add the mushrooms and the rest of the thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook on med/low heat, for about 15 minutes.
  10. add the cream and just warm through. let sit in the pan and keep warm.
  11. to serve, ladle some of the mushroom mixture into a bowl, carefully add an onion, add a touch more mushroom mixture over the onion, add a bit more fresh thyme, salt and pepper.
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Natalie - July 17, 2012 - 11:24 am

Can’t wait to make this! Who can make a burn your eyes “onion” look like sweet creamy goodness….Gina can!

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