|Carmelized onions in four stages: raw, softened, golden, carmelized.|
Carmelizing onions is a fundamental and useful technique. When well cooked - which takes about 25 minutes for a large onion - they develop a rich sweet and savory. From there, they can be used many ways:
- Tossed with pasta, cheese and herbs
- Used as a topping for grillled pizza
- Simply presented as "grilled onions" as if on a burger from an old school diner
- Stuffed in roasts, such as pork or butterflied turkey breast
- As a key ingredient in a rich tomato sauce with sweet peppers and sausage
To Carmelize Onions
- Onions cook down to a pretty small quantity when carmelized. Don't be afraid to use a lot of onion.
- Slice 2 or 3 large onions. You can slice across the equator, or pole-to-pole. Slices should be consistent in size, either 1/4" (larger) or 1/8" (smaller).
- Add a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Over medium-high heat allow the onions to cook for 30 to 35 minutes total. Stir the onions about every 5 minutes to loosen from the bottom of the pan.
- Season with a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Option 1: Add 3-4 sprigs of thyme and one bay leaf for additional flavor.
Option 2: Use 50% onion, 50% fresh sliced fennel. After 10 minutes, add a tablespoon of fennel seeds, two teaspoons of red pepper flakes.
Homemade Carmelized Onion Dip
This is what most people would call "French Onion Dip".
- Chop 1/4 of a large onion into a fine dice, about 1/4" pieces or smaller. You should have about half a cup.
- Saute onion in olive oil, along with a tablespoon of sugar.
- Allow onion pieces to get dark brown - just short of being burnt.
- Immediately add to one cup sour cream.
- Refrigerate. Stir once an hour. Serve at least two hours later or overnight.