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Big onions = big smiles with Idaho-E. Oregon Spanish Sweets and big flavor

By
Kathleen Thomas Gaspar

When you’re a part of the Treasure Valley’s onion community, your love for its wonderfully savory-sweet and famously versatile Spanish Sweet is considered a DNA marker.

You don’t simply talk the big Spanish Sweet onion talk; you walk the Spanish Sweet walk. And you consume Spanish Sweets and their big, big flavor with a passion.

Take, for instance, Sales Manager Jacob Gaschler at Fort Boise Produce in Parma, ID, who grew up in the Treasure Valley.

“Personally, I love onions in all forms on all types of dishes — caramelized and used as a garnish, French onion soup, onion rings, etc.,” he said.

Gaschler added, “The most unique dish that is my favorite isn’t onion-centric, but it does use a lot of Spanish Sweet onions the way I make it. It’s Japanese Curry, which isn’t a traditional dish but is arguably the most popular Japanese dish not well known in the United States.”

He said, “Each family has their own recipe, and it can be made with a variety of vegetables — mostly potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomatoes. It most resembles a beef stew spiced with curry roux mix and poured over rice, and it is a dish that has a rich history with Indian, British and Japanese influences – with all kinds of variances.”

Gaschler said his introduction to the curry dish came about when most people his age at that time were stuck on ramen.

“I worked at a Japanese restaurant throughout college and probably ate this dish no less than four times a week. It’s inexpensive, nutritious and very tasty!”

Tiffany Cruickshank is another Idaho-E. Oregon onion-phile. She is an Onions 52 sales team member in the Nyssa, OR, office, and she said, “Living in the heart of onion country, I have two favorite Spanish Sweet dishes. First, I love a great caramelized yellow onion with butter, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. It is a great start to many dishes or can be used as a garnish for steaks, burgers, and more,” she said. “And if you know me, you know I enjoy canning, and pickled red onions are one of my favorites. They add a great crunch and pop of flavor to mealtime.” 

Cheryl Leavitt is a longtime member of the sales team at Champion Produce in Parma, ID, and she loves to serve her family the ultimate comfort food.

“My go-to Sunday dinner is pot roast,” she said. “It isn’t fancy, but it tastes great. I normally use a chuck roast, a Spanish Sweet onion, Idaho potatoes, carrots, and celery.  Depending on how much time I have, I either cook it in a crock pot or in the oven. Either way, it is always a hit!”

At Obendorf Produce in Parma, ID, Production Manager Gabby Bishop said Spanish Sweets can’t be beat when it comes to making the team’s favorite appetizer. “We love to see a colossal or super colossal yellow onion cooked to perfection as a bloom’n onion,” she said. “There’s nothing better than a hot, freshly cooked bloom’n onion — whether it be home-made, take-out from a restaurant or even one prepared at the famous Wilder, ID, parade/park event on the 4th of July. It’s a yummy snack or appetizer to enjoy with your friends.”

Bishop added, “Another dish we all love and appreciate is sauteed onions. We especially like them cooked in butter and caramelized to perfection. Sauteed onions can be used many different ways, and we love to top them onto freshly made hamburgers. We also enjoy them topped on a delicious steak.”

And Fort Boise COO Stephen Parrott offered yet another great use for Idaho-E. Oregon Spanish Sweets, a beautiful Fajita Chicken dish.

“This is a really easy recipe,” Parrott said, adding, “One thing we will do to make it even easier is buy a rotisserie chicken from Costco and shred up the chicken.”

There’s no limit — not even the big, blue Idaho-E. Oregon sky — to the ways at-home cooks can use Spanish Sweet onions from the Treasure Valley. And for as many dishes that feature onions as the main ingredient, there are literally countless others that can be made better with the addition of savory raw Spanish Sweets sliced, diced or chopped — or a mouthwatering helping of caramelized, roasted, frizzled or batter-fried (air or deep, you decide!) rings/slices/bits.

Big onions and big flavor: Idaho-E. Oregon Spanish Sweets — grown, packed and shipped with expert care. And consumed with a passion!

Kathleen Thomas Gaspar

About Kathleen Thomas Gaspar  |  email

Kathleen is a Colorado native and has been writing about produce for more than three decades and has been a professional journalist for more than four decades. Over the years she’s covered a cornucopia of crops grown both in the United States and abroad, and she’s visited dozens of states – traveling by car from her home base in Colorado to the Northwest and Southeast, as far as Vancouver, BC, and Homestead, FL. Now semi-retired, Kathleen continues to write about produce and is also penning an ongoing series of fiction novels. She’s a wife, mother of two grown sons and grandmother of six, and she and her fly fisherman husband Abe reside in the Banana Belt town of Cañon City.

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