Onions and other vegetables in the same family might be the first vegetable that's cut in preparing a meal. Check out Kenji's Knife Skills posts on "How to Cut an Onion," "How To Prepare Leeks" and his latest, "How to Peel Pearl Onions." As a major ingredient, a garnish, or just a supporting flavor, they're essential to so many of the dishes we love.
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To be honest, pearl onions are available pretty much year-round at the same quality level, but they're especially useful in winter when other vegetables aren't in their prime. Available in white, yellow, or red (just like their full-sized brethren!), they are generally milder than full-sized onions and take on a noticeable sweetness when cooked. Here's a little trick to help you remove the skin easily with your fingers by blanching the onions first. Watch the video for full instructions.