Caramelized onions are pretty much one of my favorite things ever. As you sauté an onion over low heat for a long time, the sugars in the onion darken and sweeten while the sulfur compounds (what makes onions taste sharp and smell) break down.
That’s boring and science-y though. The really real thing about caramelized onions is how great they taste and how easy they are. It’s so totally easy you don’t even need a recipe. But here’s the basic idea.
- Take one (or more) onions, and chop however fine you like.
- Heat some oil or fat in a pan over medium heat (I like butter, but olive oil works well too).
- Toss in the onions and let them soften, then reduce the heat to medium low or low. I usually cover them at this point, which purists would scowl on. It reduces the cooking time a bit and I find tends to prevent the onions from sticking to the pan as much. Suit yourself.
- Let the onions hang out for about 20-25 minutes or so until they get very very soft and sweet. They should also be a dark brown color. You should stir them every few minutes to avoid them burning or the aforementioned sticking.
- You’re done!
Total: About $2.00 if you’re using 2-3 medium onions.
The onions keep for a few days in the fridge. They’re great on steak, burgers or salad. You can also pop them (cold) into the food processor and turn them into a paste and serve them on a sandwich with ham and cheese. (or anything really).
If you want to get even fancier, you can add a splash of balsamic vinegar, wine, stock or just some salt and pepper or even a dollop of fruit preserves when you turn the heat down to low.
Do you have a basic recipe you have questions about or love, love, love? Let me know in the comments!