Jamie Oliver shares onion tip that can elevate all your home-made dishes

Jamie Oliver has shared one of his best-kept secrets for making home-cooked more delicious – claiming it all boils down to how you prepare your onions.  

The celebrity chef revealed his tricks in an episode of Channel 4’s Jamie Cooks Italy, where he prepared a mouth-watering tune and prawn pasta with a sweet and sour sauce.

“Kisses you on the lips with the true flavour of Sicily,” the cook told his followers, before explaining how to elevate any dish with onions.

Jamie said he picked one hack up from Italian Nonna Rosanna, who taught how to take away the bitterness from onions and make them milder.

Sharing the method with his 8.3 million Instagram followers, Jamie explained: “I’m using her trick of washing sliced onions to make them milder and that moisture also helps to add extra sweetness as they cook!”

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The strong smell and bitter taste of onions stem from the root vegetables’ sulfuric compounds and thiosulfinates.

Their smell only appears when a knife cuts through the onion because this activates a sulfur-based defense system that stops insects and animals from eating them, according to the New York Times.

To mellow out these sulfuric compounds in his prawn linguine dish, the chef completes the following steps:


Two small onions

Four large raw shell-on prawns

Olive oil

One cinnamon stick

Two anchovy fillets in oil

One good pinch of saffron

Four tablespoons white wine vinegar

50 shelled unsalted pistachios

Pecorino or Parmesan cheese rind

150 grams of dried linguine

200 grams of yellowfish tuna, from sustainable sources

½ bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley.



  1. Peel and finely slice the onions, then put them in a bowl of water.
  2. Take off the prawn heads and put just the heads into a cold frying pan with two tablespoons of oil and the cinnamon. Put it on medium heat and once it starts sizzling, add the anchovies.
  3. Drain the onions and toss them into the pan. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until super-soft, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of water, if needed.
  4. Meanwhile, peel the prawns, run a small sharp knife down the back of each to butterfly them, then pull out and discard the vein. Steep the saffron in a splash of boiling water and the vinegar.
  5. Pound the pistachios in a pestle and mortar.
  6. For another Rosanna trick, finely grate a little pecorino rind for seasoning.
  7. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions.
  8. Meanwhile, chop the tuna into erratic one cm chunks and finely chop the top leafy half of the parsley.
  9. With two minutes to go on the pasta, remove the lid from the onions and turn the heat to high. Gently squash each prawn head so all the tasty juices spill out into the pan, then discard the heads and the cinnamon.
  10. Stir in half the parsley, then break the frying by adding the saffron vinegar mixture.
  11. Stir in the prawn and tune, then use tongs to drag the pasta straight into the pan, letting a little starchy water go in with it. Toss over the heat for two minutes, loosening with extra cooking water, if needed. Turn the heat off quickly, toss in the greeted pecorino rind and the pistachios, taste, and chef the seasoning then sprinkle over the remaining parsley.
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