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Favorite Ingredient: [Caramelized] Onions

March 2, 2010

To be fair, I guess this post should be called “favorite preparation of an ingredient” as opposed “favorite ingredient” flat out…But as a kick-off to a series of posts on my most favorite ingredients to cook with, these are at the top of my list.  I’ve been known to make a huge batch, cooked low and slow in my trusty cast iron pan, and keep it tucked away in the fridge as an easy and oh-so-delicious addition to pretty much anything savory.  And it is, perhaps, the preparation that makes these little morsels of sweet-savory goodness so intriguing.  With only the help of a little butter or oil, a pan, and a half hour of babysitting, the humble, tear-inducing raw onion is transformed to something so different and so fantastic.

On a particularly food nerd-y [!!] evening about a month ago,  I decided to document this process. Every five minutes or so I snapped a picture of the gradually browning onions and then spliced them together [see above].  Although this exercise may make you doubt my sanity, I  did this while making dinner and therefore not with the scientific exactitude that might seem ‘abnormal’ for one’s interaction with onions.

Caramelized Onions

Slice several onions (white, red, or otherwise) thinly. Liberally film a large skillet with olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and butter. Add the onions to the skillet, making sure not to overcrowd the pan–the more contact the onions have with the hot surface, the more quickly and easily the onions will caramelize. Cook over medium to medium-low heat  for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically and adjusting heat if the onions begin to burn.  When the onions are done, they will be quite uniformly brown and tender throughout.

Enjoy as:

a pizza or foccacia topping (I love it combined with roasted eggplant or cappicola)

an add-in for scrambled eggs

as a spread for a roast beef sandwich when mixed with a little mayo and black pepper

as a base for a classic onion soup

as a topping for steak, especially with sauteed mushrooms

as an addition to a green salad

a filling for a savory tart or quiche

a crostini topping, maybe with some goat cheese

as an addition to sauteed greens like kale or chard

…and in many other delicious applications.


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2010 5:25 am

    Yum! I was looking for different fillings for my next quiche and I think that caramelized onion sound really good! :-)

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