caramelizing onions

i often forget what a simple, sustainable delight it is to caramelize onions. i’ve recently turned to red onions for caramelizing as opposed to yellow or white, because that’s amy chaplin’s go-to move! and i’m assuming it is because red onions have a higher amount of antioxidant compounds than yellow or white onions. and they’re so pretty!

i just tried out an interesting way of caramelizing them. i diced the onion as opposed to slicing. the onions were then salted and cooked over low heat for about an hour, stirring every so often. the remaining caramelized onions were tiny, they reminded me of an umami gummy (see the middle photo on the top row in the collage below).

i wanted to use them for another rendition of the RBG quesadilla (link to post here) that i posted about this past saturday. they were yet again a great addition to the quesadillas, which i layered with beans, rice, sautéed spinach, cilantro-lime dressing (recipe here), cholula, and then served with guacamole.

it’s often recommended to sauté three or four onions at a time, so that there are leftover caramelized onions to add to whatever you’re cooking. they take almost an hour to caramelize usually, so you might as well have some leftover to reward the fruits of your labor. they taste great served on top of many different dishes, including soups, sandwiches, and… quesadillas!

my favorite recipe for caramelizing onions is linked here, if you’re interested in the steps and a great, well-thought out recipe.

or you can do it how i have been doing it: heating up a a few tablespoons of fat (like olive oil or butter) on a cast iron skillet, adding a few sliced (or diced) onions and kosher salt, and bringing them to an aggressive sizzle over medium-high heat. then i reduce the heat to low (a light sizzle) and stir every 3-5 minutes for the next 30 minutes to an hour. if the onions start to brown too quickly, add more fat and/or reduce heat. then once cooked, sprinkle with balsamic vinegar or another acid. once cooled, you can store these for several days in the fridge in an air-tight container. and add them to everything!

One thought on “caramelizing onions

  1. I like your idea to add an acid at the end. That’s a really good tip. I made crepes yesterday filled with acorn squash. They would have been better with caramelized onions with balsamic vinegar. The process of preparing the onion separately and then adding is a good way to go. Thanks for the idea.

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