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Volvoi: Marinated Bulbs - Recipe for an Aphrodisiac?


Marinated bulbs - Greek Food Photos

Marinated bulbs - an aphrodisiac?

Photo © N. Gaifyllia, licensed to About.com, Inc.

In Greek: βολβοί, pronounced vohl-VEE

In many parts of Greece, the bulb of the tassel hyacinth (muscari comosum) is used to make this dish. If you can't find these edible bulbs, I'm told that pearl onions can be substituted, although the taste will be different. Ancient Greeks also believed that onions were aphrodisiacs, so if they were right, the substitution shouldn't affect the outcome!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 2 pounds of bulbs (or pearl onions)
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • fresh garlic leaves, chopped


Remove outer skin of the bulbs (or onions), trim the top and, with a sharp knife, cut out the center piece of the root (the hard part at the bottom of the bulb). Cut a cross into the bottom of the bulb.

In a pressure cooker, add bulbs, enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Drain the bulbs in a colander and discard the water. Repeat. The third time, add the salt, bring to a boil and seal the pressure cooker. Cook for 15 minutes at low pressure. Use fast pressure release and drain in a colander, then on paper towels.

Place the bulbs in jars or plastic containers with lids. Fill with vinegar to cover, leaving 1/2 inch to the top. Put on lid and refrigerate. Bulbs can be served after 15-20 minutes, and will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Serve drizzled with olive oil, and topped with a garnish of chopped fresh garlic leaves.

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