The onion of Montoro is a native variety from the plains of Montoro, between the provinces of Avellino and Salerno in the region of Campagna in southwestern Italy. It is seeded at the end of summer or beginning of autumn and is harvested at the beginning of the following summer. If kept in a fresh, well-ventilated area, it can be stored up until March of the following year. This bulb has been a food source for generations in the area who experienced food shortages due to global conflicts. It was a food of survival, eaten with bread, when it was available. With a slightly flattened globe shape, the Montoro onion’s skin features shades of purple internally and reddish or copper externally. The taste is sweet, and it is intensely aromatic. It is excellent in any culinary preparation; it can be eaten both raw, in an innumerable variety of salads, and cooked in preparations such as soups, sauces and side dishes. It can be prepared in the oven dressed lightly with a splash of olive oil and a pinch of pepper to highlight its aroma and flavor. It is often served with pasta in a sauce of ‘Genovese ragu,’ typical of local countryside cuisine. The historical production area is between the provinces of Avellino and Salerno, in the territory of the Irno Valley, centering on the towns of Montoro Inferiore and Montero Superiore. Today, however, a move towards industrialized agriculture in this area means that this classic local variety is being cultivated less and less.
Image: © Marco del Comune & Oliver Migliore