Technique: Carmelized Onions

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:

To Carmelize Onions
  1. Onions cook down to a pretty small quantity when carmelized. Don't be afraid to use a lot of onion.  
  2. 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). 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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".
  1. Chop 1/4 of a large onion into a fine dice, about 1/4" pieces or smaller. You should have about half a cup. 
  2. Saute onion in olive oil, along with a tablespoon of sugar. 
  3. Allow onion pieces to get dark brown - just short of being burnt. 
  4. Immediately add to one cup sour cream. 
  5. Refrigerate. Stir once an hour. Serve at least two hours later or overnight. 

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