Recipe: Caramelized Onions
Nothing transforms a pungent storage onion as completely as does this simple recipe. Though there are many ways to brown an onion; following these techniques will coax and deepen all of the onions' sugars, resulting in a surprisingly sultry ingredient that makes everything taste better: pasta, pizza, soups, sandwiches, omelets, bean dishes,polenta, you name it.
Makes 1 1/3 cups
2 pounds storage onions (5 or 6 medium), sliced evenly to 1/4-inch thickness
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat the oil in a skillet with deep sides or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions, turning to coat them with the oil. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until they have released their juices and begin to really sizzle against the bottom of the pan, about 20 minutes.
2. Turn the heat down to low or medium low, depending on your stove, and continue to gently cook the onions, stirring every ten minutes or so, while they begin to turn golden brown, then walnut brown, then deep chocolate brown. The cooking will take between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on how deeply caramelized you would like them to be. When the onions are done, splash the pan with a tablespoon of water (for more flavor, use stock or wine); stir until the liquid is reduced and season with salt and pepper.
3. Caramelized onions will keep a week or two in the fridge, or can be frozen for up to three months.
Recipe adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy.