Onions Monégasque

Author: Christian Leue

This agrodolce (sweet and sour) dish from Monaco is an ideal accompaniment to cheeses, roasted meats and poultry, and breads, and are also a delicious vegan treat on their own. Pearl onions are simmered with spices, vinegar, olive oil, and sweet raisins, then reduced to create the perfect balance and intensity of flavors. Starting with frozen peeled onions and spiced conserves makes it a quick and easy affair. They get their beautiful golden color from the saffron in the Lemon-Sultana Marmalata, and the plump raisins are treats all on their own.

Servings size: makes about 1 pint


  • 1 bag of frozen pearl onions, or about one pound of fresh pearl onions

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 tsp La Boîte Luberon N4

  • 3 Tbsp wine or cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or water plus a bit of sugar/juice and vinegar if you don't drink)*

  • 3 Tbsp Lemon-Sultana Marmalata

  • 1-2 Tbsp Spiced Raisin Marmalata (optional but great)

  • Salt, to taste


  1. If using fresh onions, trim the root ends and blanch for 30 seconds in salted water, when cool the skins should slip off pretty easily. If using frozen onions check them over for any stray bits of skin.

  2. Add the onions, olive oil, bay leaf, Luberon, vinegar, and wine (or water) to a small pot or pan with a lid. Bring to just below a boil, give it a good stir, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

  3. Add the marmalata(s), give everything a good stir, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Check if the onions are tender (they should still have some bite to them but be cooked through), and if not give them another 5 minutes, or until they are done.

  4. Uncover, raise the heat to high, and reduce the liquid to a thin glaze, stirring frequently.

  5. Salt to taste (you may not need any), then remove to a bowl or storage container. They are ready to eat as soon as they aren't so hot that they'll burn your mouth, but improve in flavor as they rest in the fridge, and will keep for a week.

NOTES: I've also had great results replacing the wine with verjus, it's just not a particularly common product. If you have some in your pantry and have no idea what to do with it, this is a perfect use.


Variations & Ideas

• In addition to serving them as a condiment, try studding focaccia with the onions for a sweet and savory treat, add them to pastas, or use them to stuff a meatball.
• You can use regular chopped onions instead of pearl onions but the texture will be more like a relish, still delicious!
• I like using the same prep to make totally savory onions. Instead of olive oil use salted butter and sauté the onions a bit to brown them, keep the Luberon and bay leaf but use chicken or beef stock instead of wine, vinegar, and marmalata. Simmer them for around 45 minutes total, removing the lid for the last 10 so the liquid gently and naturally reduces.

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