Onions may not cure warts and soothe bee stings, as the Internet would have you believe, but a few things are certain. Onions grow best from May to October in Illinois, and thanks to cool storage practices, you can enjoy them all year. And these bulbs are so versatile they can be the life of any party. Follow the lead of chef Tom Van Lente (Two, 1132 W. Grand Ave., 312-624-8363) and make his stuffed onions for an appetizer, a warm salad, or a lively side dish.

Tom Van Lente’s Roasted Stuffed Onions

Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

2 Medium sweet onions
4 oz. Wild mushrooms, diced
1 Red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 Yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 Jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. Butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel and cut the onions in half from root to stem. Remove the inner layers so that the outer layer of each half may be used as a bowl.

3. Mix the mushrooms and peppers together. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Heat the butter in a sauté pan and cook the veggies until soft and lightly browned (5 to 7 minutes).

5. Cool the mixture and then fill the onion halves with it.

6. Place the stuffed onions on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

Tips: Prepare a day ahead and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before roasting. Once you get the hang of making these, be creative with the onions (Vidalia, Spanish, purple) and the fillings (peas, corn, beans).