Sweet-and-Sour Mixed Onions with Broiled Chicken Paillards


In this lightened version of the Italian dish chicken agrodolce ("sweet and sour"), a grouping of several small alliums -- cipollini, pearl onions, and shallots -- are coated with a glaze made from red wine, vinegar, and honey.


  • 1 pound small cipollini (about 22), root ends trimmed

  • 8 ounces pearl onions (mix of white and red; about 30), root ends trimmed

  • 8 ounces small shallots (about 6), root ends trimmed, peeled

  • ¾ cup dry red wine

  • ¾ cup red-wine vinegar

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 2 ½ teaspoons coarse salt

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 fresh bay leaf

  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray


  1. Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in a large stockpot. Set a steamer insert in pot, and add cipollini, pearl onions, and shallots. Cover, and steam until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Peel cipollini and pearl onions, leaving tops and root ends intact; set aside.

  2. Stir wine, vinegars, honey, and 2 teaspoons salt in a small bowl; set aside.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cipollini, pearl onions, shallots, bay leaf, and rosemary sprig. Cook, stirring often, until cipollini, onions, and shallots are deep golden brown in spots, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add vinegar mixture to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is syrupy, about 30 minutes. Discard rosemary and bay leaf. Season with pepper.

  5. Meanwhile, preheat broiler, with rack 6 inches below heat source. Butterfly chicken: Using a chef's knife and starting on one long side, slice chicken open horizontally, stopping about 1/2 inch before reaching opposite side. Open each piece of chicken like a book, and place it between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thick.

  6. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Brush chicken on both sides with remaining tablespoon oil, and season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to the prepared sheet; broil chicken, flipping once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 1/2 minutes per side.

  7. Transfer chicken to a serving platter, and add cipollini, pearl onions, and shallots. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

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