One of the several delightful people I have met through this blog is a lady who calls herself Kudzu when she comments here. Pat Fusco doesn't write a blog; she is a writer for the Pacific Sun newspaper, one of those talented journalists whose prose I admire and wish I could emulate, and her regular columns are full of information for local food lovers.
The other day, while I was trying to think up something fun to do with the crisp, tubular stems of my Egyptian Walking Onion, she happened to leave a comment saying she remembered them from her girlhood in Georgia.
I had been thinking to stuff them, as they are hollow inside, with brown rice and something tasty but the ideas had not really jelled as yet . When I thought of Kudzu and walking onions together, I had my inspiration.
Kudzu is from the South as are grits, and I just happened to have a big bag of water ground grits in my cupboard. Plus, her last name is Italian, so I used Italian sausage, chopped walking onion and creamy grits as filling for my green "cannelloni." I added a generous amount of Parmesan cheese and bits of (precooked) Italian sausage to the grits once they were cooked, stuffed the mixture into the onion tubes using a plastic bag with the corner snipped off like a pastry bag, and topping the stuffed onion with provolone cheese before sliding them into a 325 degree oven for long enough to heat them through and to melt the cheese.
It was a very nice combination, rather like Kudzu, of sweet and creamy grits, salty sausage and savory cheese wrapped in onion that is mild to the nose but has a surprisingly spirited bite.
It was good but I have to admit I'd make a change next time. I'd blanch or parboil the walking onion stems before stuffing next time. They are sturdy and crisp, as you might expect from an onion top that stands two or three feet tall: starting with raw stems made them just a tad too chewy for our taste.
Still, I think it's a fitting tribute to a food writer from Georgia who married an Italian-American guy. She's an inspiration in more ways than one.