Every spring the crisp, apple-sweet Vidalia onion— first discovered by a Toombs County truck farmer who marketed them from a trailer made from the back of a Model T Ford—is celebrated with festivals in the Southeast Georgia towns of Vidalia and nearby Glennville. It’s a near century-old love affair rooted in the loamy rain-washed soils of the region.
This year, the Vidalia Onion Festival will be held from April 18th to April 21st. The mega four-day event features a children’s parade, carnival rides, and a Gospel Music Fest in historic downtown Vidalia. Opening ceremonies kick off the evening of the 19th with the big reveal of the Vidalia Onion Queens and a giant fireworks display. A Charlie Daniels Band Concert is scheduled for the night of April 20th. While you’re there, be sure and stop by the Vidalia Onion Museum where you’ll find tales of intrigue about Texas bootleggers and bogus Vidalias, and enough pop-culture curios to get you through to the grand champion round on Jeopardy.
The 37th Annual Glennville Sweet Onion Festival will be held Saturday, May 11th.. It will feature more than a hundred arts-and-crafts and food booths, plus an onion run, parade, and the crowning of Miss Georgia Sweet Onion.
Both festivals will have freshly harvested Vidalia onions for sale, but if you can’t make it to Georgia, go ahead and pickup a bag from your local market and check out our Test Kitchen’s favorite vidalia onion recipes. Here’s one of our old favorites to get you started:
Caramelized Onion Quiche is the perfect addition to your next brunch or luncheon. Gruyere cheese and bacon combine with caramelized onions for a quiche that can’t be beat. Flat-leaf parsley, chives, and mint add a fresh, pretty finish to this tasty dish.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Total Recipe Time: 2 Hours
Hands-On Time: 45 Minutes
1 (14-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
3 large sweet onions, sliced (about 1 1/2 lb.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
6 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Gruyere cheese
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Unroll piecrusts; stack on a lightly greased surface. Roll stacked piecrusts into a 12-inch circle. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch deep-dish tart pan with removable bottom; press into fluted edges. Trim off excess piecrust along edges. Line piecrust with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Remove weights and foil, and bake 8 more minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack (about 15 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
2. Meanwhile, cook onions in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 15 to 20 minutes or until onions are caramel colored. Remove from heat, and stir in parsley and bacon. Place half of onion mixture in tart shell, and top with half of cheese; repeat with remaining onion mixture and cheese.
3. Whisk together half-and-half and next 4 ingredients; pour over cheese.
4. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes or until set. Cool on baking sheet on a wire rack 15 minutes before serving.