sweet and sour onion petals

Sweet and Sour Onion Petals

These onions are sweet inside, charred at the edges and swimming in a tart pomegranate syrup.


Serves Four
As a starter or part of a mezze spread

  • 500g golf-ball-sized red onions (about 12), peeled, then halved lengthways
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 400ml pomegranate juice (100% pure)
  • 10g chives, finely chopped 70g young and creamy rindless goat’s cheese, broken into 2cm pieces (optional)
  • 2⁄3 tsp Urfa chilli flakes (or another variety of chilli flake if you can’t get them)
  • salt


Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan on high heat until very hot. Toss the onions with 2 tablespoons of oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt and place them, cut side down and spread apart, in the hot pan. Place a saucepan on top to weigh the onions down and create an even char, then turn the heat down to medium-high and cook, undisturbed, for about 6 minutes, or until the cut sides are deeply charred. Transfer the onions to a parchment-lined baking tray, charred side up, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until softened. If your onions are larger than golf-ball size, this may take longer. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the pomegranate juice into a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to about 70ml and is the consistency of a loose maple syrup. Set aside to cool; it will thicken as it sits.

Combine the chives with the remaining 45ml of oil and a good pinch of salt, and set aside.

Pour the pomegranate syrup on to a large platter with a lip and swirl it around to cover most of the plate. Use your hands to loosely separate the onions into individual petals, then place them haphazardly over the syrup. Dot over the goat’s cheese, if using, spoon over the chive oil, and finish with the Urfa chilli flakes.