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July 15, 2011

A Slice of Red Onion

by Anne Paddock

When traveling, I am always on the look out for a place to have a meal made with fresh ingredients which is how I came upon a chain restaurant called “The Atlanta Bread Company” one day. Scanning the menu, I settled for the “California Avocado” on honey wheat bread: thick pieces of ripe California avocado, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a slice of red onion.

The sandwich also comes with a dill sauce but I opted not to include the sauce because I wanted to fully appreciate the flavor of the fresh ingredients.  I also briefly hesitated to include the red onion, as I don’t normally eat raw onions on a sandwich because I find them overpowering.  Onions are in that category of foods I refer to as “domineering” and if given the chance, will overpower other ingredients, especially a delicate smooth avocado.

canstockphoto12961622The sweet taste of the red onion slice perfectly complemented the buttery taste of the avocado and the tangy mildness of the provolone cheese.  Lettuce added the crunch and the tomato a bit of sweetness. The sandwich was delicious and I thought “what have I missed all these years?” Onions were in my pantry and I used them to flavor soups, sauces, and dishes almost every day of the week.  I even used red onions sautéed in olive oil to make a warm wilted spinach salad. But, I didn’t slice fresh red onions and put them on a sandwich because I mistakenly put all onions in a mental category of vegetables that add great flavor but need to be cooked first to tone down their impact.

Red Onions are also known as purple onions.  They are medium to large in size, have a deep purple outer skin and a lighter interior. A good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber, red onions are also low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.  But most importantly, red onions have a mild sweet flavor that just adds that extra special something to a sandwich that takes it from good to great.  

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