- 2 pounds red or white pearl onions
- 3 thick strips of bacon, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 small shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ¾ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or coarse, dry bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Use a sharp knife to trim off the root ends and pinch the onions to remove the skins.
In a medium, deep skillet, cook the bacon over medium high heat until the fat is rendered, 3 to 4 minutes. Pour the bacon fat into a heatproof cup and reserve 1½ teaspoons. Drain the bacon on paper towels.
Add the butter to the skillet along with the shallots and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pearl onions to a large, shallow baking dish and cover with the cream. In a small bowl, toss the panko with the bacon, parsley and 1½ teaspoons of reserved bacon fat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the crumb mixture over the onions and bake until the crumbs are toasted and the onions are bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Make ahead: The onions can be blanched and peeled up to a day ahead. Refrigerate them but bring them to room temperature before baking.You can also crisp the bacon a day ahead, though it sure is tough not to eat it!