Sunday, October 23, 2011

How to Caramelize Onions

Eric hates onions (unless they're onion rings). When he moved out of his parents house, his mom told me they all rejoiced because they could add onions to dishes now. I like onions. They add depth and complexity to dishes. Sadly, now I’m the one who isn't allowed to cook with them (though I sneak minced onions into dishes without telling him all the time). Ironically, it was Eric's mom who introduced me to caramelized onions. Immediately I fell in love with them. I'll put them on just about anything--salads, pizza, quesadillas, sandwiches.
1 large red onion
1 large yellow onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Sea salt

Cut off the root and top ends of both your onions then peel the onion. To slice your onion, cut the onions in half and lay them flat-side down. Slice onions lengthwise and make them as thick or thin as you’d like. Add the olive oil and butter in a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. When oil begins to shimmer or ripple, add the onions to the pan. Stir to coat the onions then spread them out evenly in the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and let the onions cook.

After about 10 minutes, sprinkle a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar over the onions. Continue to cook, stirring every 10 to 15 to keep the onions from burning. You will notice the onions browning and shrinking the longer they cook. Once your onion reach the color, texture, and flavor that you want, remove them from the heat. I usually cook mine about an hour and a half. Put them on steak, venison, hamburgers, omelets, or pizza.

I like to caramelize my onions in a mixture of olive oil and butter, but if you want, you can just use 3 tablespoons of olive oil. The pinch of sugar helps speed up caramelizing process, but you don’t have to add it. To add more flavor to your onions, add a splash of balsamic vinegar or wine when the onions are just about done. It also de-glazes the pan.



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