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Taste test: Vidalia or Palmetto Sweet?

Taste test: Vidalia or Palmetto Sweet?

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Published by Richard Phelps

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Published by: Richard Phelps on May 30, 2011
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05/30/2011

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the layers to find out in a sweet onionthrowdown. We pitted the two sweet onions in a tastetest, using both varieties in three recipes, judged by a selected, but hungry, group of onion lovers from the newsroom last week. We got help from Branson Stafford, thechef at Davis’, a new bar/restaurant openingthis week in Rosewood.Stafford made two onionloaves, one using the Vidalia andthe other using the PalmettoSweet. Stafford hopes the onionloaf — a pile of battered onionrings shaped into a loaf pan andbaked — becomes a signature dish at therestaurant.It was a bit harder to work with the Pal-metto Sweet, Stafford reports, just becausethe onion skin was so delicate and the Pal-metto took a bit longer to cook. We also made two versions of an oniondip and Paula Deen’s Saturday Night On-ions (see recipes inside).The verdicts of our judging panel:
I
t’s David vs. Goliath.Or, more specifically, Vidalia vs.Palmetto.The Vidalia onion is a giant force in thefoodie world. About this time every year,these Georgia-bred onions showup on grocery shelves, a long-awaited treat for onion lovers.Unlike the tear-inducing yellowonion or the pungent red onion,these onions are so mild and fla- vorful they can be eaten whole.But now comes the Palmetto Sweet On-ion and the Edisto River Sweet Onion. Rela-tively petite in size, much whiter in colorand with more delicate skin, these home-grown onions were introduced a few weeksago by South Carolina agriculture officials.They want to make you forget everything you loved about Vidalias.How does the fair Palmetto Sweet fareagainst the mighty Vidalia? We peeled back
PHOTOGRAPHS BY KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN/KKFOSTER@THESTATE.COM
We did a taste test to see which is the trueSouthern onion: Vidalia or Palmetto Sweet
 Ain’t she sweet
By BETSEY GUZIOR 
bguzior@thestate.com
LIFE&STYLE
COLUMBIA
SOUTH CAROLINA
WEDNESDAY,MAY19,2010
WWW.THESTATE.COM
SECTION D
INSIDE:
Sweetonion recipes,Page D3
 ABOUT DAVIS’
Davis’ is expected to open this week. It is located at 2910Rosewood Drive.Brent Davis owns the restau-rant along with his brotherStephen. Brent Davis helpedrun Cock N Bull, which closedat this location earlier thisspring and expects to opensoon at a new location onRosewood Drive.The dinner menu is mostlystandard comfort and bar food,but with a heavy dose of veganand vegetarian dishes, includ-ing a cactus quesadilla andcrispy nopales (fried cactusleaves). The onion loaf recipe,says chef Branson Stafford, isinspired by onion rings.
ONION LOAF
 Vidalia:
There was lots of batter, and itseemed this version was cooked longer.The mild taste of the onions was relativelydisappointing.
Palmetto:
The panel could taste theonions better in this version; the batter wascrunchier and it retained its shape well.
The winner?
Palmetto
ONION DIP
 Vidalia:
There was moreflavor and a sweeter taste withthis version. The cheese heldthe dip together well, and it was a good balance of flavors.
Palmetto:
Compared to theother version, this dip wasrunny and watery.
The winner?
 Vidalia
SATURDAY NIGHT ONION
 Vidalia:
Flavorful and sweeter, and agood balance of onion and the bullion.
Palmetto:
 A bit saltier, but still good
The winner?
 A slight edge toward thePalmetto
PALMETTOSWEET
 Average size:
2-3inches in diameter
Color:
White
Texture:
Thin,papery skin
Spokesman:
Noneyet, but might werecommend LizardMan?
 VIDALIA ONIONS
 Average size:
3-4inches in diameter
Color:
Light yellow
Texture:
Thick yellowskin
Spokesman:
Shrek,who is the face of  this year’smarketing campaign
Fruit from the Vine
Enjoy an evening of food and wineas the Friends of theRichland County PublicLibrary host
The Literary  Vine
7 p.m. June 12 at theMain Library, 1431Assembly St. Taste more than 30 wines and learnabout each selection fromwine experts while enjoying food from localrestaurants. The SkippPearson Jazz Ensemble willbe performing. Sponsors includeSouthern Wine & Spirits,BlueCross BlueShield of SouthCarolina, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’sItalian Grill, DiPrato’s, Dianne’s onDevine, Immaculate Consumption,Gervais & Vine and Tiffany’sBakery. Tickets: $25 for Friendsmembers, $35 for nonmembers.Available online atmyRCPL.com/friends. Limitedspecial reserve tasting ticketsavailable for additional $15: call(803) 9293475 or(803) 988-0885.
The farmers market atRiverbanks BotanicalGarden
has reopened2-7 p.m. Wednesdays through October.EarthFare Market willbe holding cooking demonstrations2:30-3:30 p.m. Cooking demonstrationschedule: Today, strawberry fieldssalad; May 26, chicken stir fry withherbed veggies; June 2, sweetmint kaleidoscope medley; June 9,peachy keen crepes; June 16,grilled garden skewers; June 23,ragin’ Cajun shrimp and bleucheese salad; June 30, open-facedwestern chicken sandwich. TheBotanical Garden entrance is at1200 Botanical Way, off U.S. 378in West Columbia.
[ EVENTS]
Test your sleuthing abilities at the
Dinner with the Family 
murder mysterydinner Saturday at Let’s Cook CulinaryStudio. Hosted by members of theAlpha Iota Kappa student chapter of  the American Criminal JusticeAssociation at ITT Technical Institute of Columbia, participants will act asdetectives in solving the crime withprizes awarded to the first two guests to correctly identify the criminal. Chef John Militello will present Italian horsd’oeuvres to dinner guests. Proceedsgo to fund community service projectsand ITT Tech criminal justice studentactivities. $30 per person, limitedseating, reservations requiredatlets-cook@earthlink.net. Let’s Cook isat 1305 Assembly St., (803)250-2569The second annual
Ribs &Renaissance
festival will be 11a.m. to 10 p.m. June 5 at Eau ClaireTown Square at North Main andMonticello Road. Enjoy live music,arts and crafts and finger-licking good ribs. Details ateauclairecommunity.org The 13th Annual
 Wine Tasting and Silent Auction
hosted by theRotary Club of the Vista Nightisscheduled for 7 p.m. June 8 at TheHall at Canal and Senate, 320Senate St. Tickets are $40 perperson, silent auction proceedsbenefit Children’s Chance. Info:(803) 413-0446 orvistanightrotary.org Start salivating now.
ThePalmetto Palate,
an eventsponsored by the S.C. FarmBureau pairing South Carolina’sbest chefs with the best locallygrown ingredients, returns to 701Whaley July 22. Last year’s eventfeatured creations such asCarolina mission figs with goatcheese, roasted pecans, searedpork belly and a beet reduction,glazed pouisson legs with sweetcorn relish and a homemadeblackberry cobbler. In addition to the food, a silent auction of itemsunique to South Carolina andagriculture will be held. Proceedssupport Friends of Farm BureauPolitical Action Committee fund.Tickets $50, available from KristinLavender, (803) 936-4219.
COOK’S CALENDAR
INSIDE:
More Cook’s Calendar,Page D3.

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