Fresh pearl onions are the devil to peel unless you know a little trick—blanch them in boiling water first, and they practically peel themselves. Here’s how:
Trim the root ends of the onions. Blanch the onions in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Pinch each onion at its stem end, and it should just slip out of its skin. If not, use a paring knife to remove the skin.