This popular relish is made from sugared onions which are stewed slowly to a syrupy consistency. Start with a lot of onions as they cook down to a tiny part of their original watery bulk.
Put the onions in a big heavy-based pan with the oil and stir to coat. Season and cook over a moderate heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. It is important not to let the onions brown at this point or the end-product will be bitter.
Lower the heat to its lowest setting, put on a lid and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid, scatter over the sugar, wine and vinegar. Continue to cook, stirring from time to time, until most of the liquid has evaporated and you are left with a thick, jammy residue. This will take 20–30 minutes.
Put into sterilized jars, cover the surface with olive oil, put on lids and keep in a cool cupboard for a month before use. Once opened, keep refrigerated.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.