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Basics: Caramelized Onions

Posted by on November 30, 2012

Now, today’s ‘recipe’ is another basics so we can build our ultimate recipe on Sunday. The whole idea behind this series is to show you how each recipe is also a piece of the foundation of what else can be done with it. A small stepping stone to something greater.  There’s also not much to this recipe, but a lot of people don’t understand how to do it right. Just like caramel takes a while to cook, so does caramelized onions. There is no quickie method to this recipe.  The more time and effort you put in, the better the end result. This is why we have techniques that work and work well as well as consistently. The mainstay of any good cook or chef. You need to be able to repeat your results or something happened and you weren’t paying attention.

Caramelized Onions

Difficulty: 2 of 5 because you need to be patient
Time: 40-60 minutes depending on variables
Yield: One cup

Mise en Place

Cutting Board
Chef’s Knife
Skillet or Sauté pan
Spatula
Olive Oil (to drizzle)
Water (to drizzle)
Patience

Ingredients

4 medium sized onions
Salt (to Sprinkle)

The idea behind caramelized onions is simple. You gotta be patient. Also, your pan needs to be about the size of your burner. This is just so you get even heat distribution. Now, as you’ll see in the pictures, I have a very spiffy (and new, thanks to Aaron) nonstick pan, but you can use a stainless steel pan and those work great! The nonsticks will often take longer actually to caramelize since they do distribute the heat evenly which does not always mean quickly.

Cut off your onions tops and bottoms as well as the outer layer of skin. Cut each in half so you end up with eight halves. Slice each of the halves until you have a big pile of onion slices. Drizzle oil on your pan bottom until it almost coats. Heat this up on a medium heat until a wooden spoon handle sizzles when it’s put against the oil in the pan or a drop of water instantly sizzles. Toss all your onions in and coat them with the oil by turning them with the spatula.

 

Once that’s done…be patient. Let them sit for about 10 minutes, add a sprinkle of salt and toss. By this point, you should have some browning on your onions and you want to keep letting them sit for 5-10 minutes, and tossing again, this is so no single bits of onion get burnt but truly caramelize. Repeat this until your onions are a deep but not burnt brown and then remove from heat and let cool down. Then use them in dips, soups or in our recipe of the week..that you’ll get to see Sunday!

~Tabi

 

 

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