Jamie Oliver’s ‘game-changing’ onion trick makes home cooked meals delicious

Jamie Oliver’s ‘game-changing’ onion trick makes home cooked meals delicious

Jamie Oliver has revealed how he makes his home cooked meals even tastier with this simple onion hack.

In an episode of Channel 4’s Jamie Cooks Italy, he whipped up a hearty tuna and prawn pasta with a sweet and sour sauce that according to the professional chef: “Kisses you on the lips with the true flavour of Sicily”.

Jamie used a trick he learnt from Italian Nonna Rosanna to rid his onions of that bitterness and make them much milder.

Explaining the hack to his 8.3 million followers on Instagram, he wrote: “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!”

The pungent smell and the bitter flavour is a result of the sulfuric compounds and thiosulfinates in the onions.

But, this smell is only given off after you cut it.

So when you do, The New York Times says the onion is activating its sulfur-based defense system which repels insects and animals from eating them.

By washing the sulfuric compounds from the onion, you’re removing a lot of the bitterness.

If you’re interested in trying the hack for yourself, you can follow along with the full recipe below.


  • 2 small onions
  • 4 large raw shell-on prawns
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 1 good pinch of saffron
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 50 g shelled unsalted pistachios
  • Pecorino or Parmesan cheese rind
  • 150 g dried linguine
  • 200 g yellowfin tuna
  • ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, (15g)


  1. Peel and finely slice the onions, and place them in a bowl of water.
  2. Pull off the prawn heads and put just the heads into a cold frying pan with 2 tablespoons of oil and the cinnamon. Place on a medium heat and, once sizzling, add the anchovies.
  3. Drain the onions and toss 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. And, 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 1cm chunks, and finely chop the top leafy half of the parsley.
  9. With 2 minutes to go on the pasta, remove the lid from the onions and turn the heat to high.
  10. Gently squash each prawn head so all the tasty juices spill out into the pan, then discard the heads and the cinnamon.
  11. Stir in half the parsley, then break the frying by adding the saffron vinegar mixture.
  12. Stir in the prawns and tuna, then use tongs to drag the pasta straight into the pan, letting a little starchy cooking water go with it. Toss over the heat for 2 minutes, loosening with a little extra cooking water, if needed. Turn the heat off, quickly toss in the grated pecorino rind and the pistachios, taste and check the seasoning, then sprinkle over the remaining parsley.