Ah, the humble onion. So often overlooked as a vegetable and yet is a pantry staple and often the base for many dishes. This hardy veggie is harvested is the fall and stores well through the winter months making it a great way to add vitamin C to ones diet. The amount of vitamin C in any food or drink is reduced when it is exposed to heat, thus making raw onions more nutrient dense than when they are cooked.
The onion family includes a wide variety of alliums including leeks, chives, shallots, scallions, Vidalia’s, Walla Walla’s and many more in addition to the common yellow, red & white onions found in grocery stores & backyard gardens alike. These three typical onions each have their strong suits. Red onions (sometimes called purple) are best raw, grilled or roasted at this time of year as they have a sharp, spicy, pungent flavour to them. Similarly, white onions are pungent and full flavoured with a clean finish. The common yellow cooking onion, which makes up about 87% of the onions grown is best cooked in some way: caramelized, grilled, sautéed, baked or roasted as they too have a strong onion flavour during the cold storage months.
A great way to incorporate raw onions into your meals is through a fresh salsa, like the one in the following recipe. There’s a fantastic salsa sold at our local farmers market but they’re easy enough to throw together! Tilapia is a mild white fish also available seasonally at our farmers market. Local fishmongers such as Anchors will likely have it available if not a suitable substitute.
- 1 mango, chopped small
- 1 red pepper, chopped small
- 1 red onion, chopped small
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 6 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh chili pepper, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds tilapia fillets
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh cracked black pepper
For salsa, mix all ingredients together and set aside.
Brush olive oil onto the tilapia fillets.
For the spice rub, mix all the ingredients together.
Rub the spice mixture onto the oil-coated tilapia fillets.
Grill the tilapia fillets on medium heat for three to four minutes per side.
Top with salsa and serve.