Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions


There is something so utterly decadent about a batch of onions which has basked in a hot oven for three hours. The seductive aroma lingers through out your home for days, as a sweet reminder of what may be. You could eat them right out of the bowl, or perhaps use them as the crowning jewel for your next recipe.

It may be peasant food, but there's nothing unremarkable about it. Foodies know that some of the best dishes have humble beginnings. It all starts with three pounds of onions lovingly sliced thin. Then, the slices are bathed in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, herbes de provence, sea salt and olive oil. Finally, they get a slow, long heat treatment which allows them to cook, then caramelize to golden brown perfection. It's not quite the Club Med, but for an onion it might as well be. The end result is onions so sweet and buttery, they practically melt in your mouth, leaving you gasping for air and begging for more.

Here's how I made my batch:

3 lbs of sweet yellow onions, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
1 tablespoon of herbes de Provence


Preheat oven at 300F
Spread the onions evenly on an oiled cookie sheet. Pour the rest of the ingredients over the onions and mix well using your hands.
Bake in the oven for an hour. Stir the onions around. Bake for another hour. Give another stir and increase temperature to 350F and bake an additional hour or until the onion slices are a beautiful golden brown (see picture).

Caramelized onions are a wonderful addition to soups, stews, breads and make an awesome pizza (recipe will be posted soon).

13 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Caramelized onions = the epitome of a divine ingredient.

sliceofsueshe said...

i love love love carmelized onions! i love the way they smell the way they taste. yum!

vb said...

These are great! All I need is a fork.

Kevin said...

Caramelized onions are so good. Baking them sounds a lot easier than cooking them on the stove top.

Katie said...

Yum! I have never made caramelized onions in the oven before, but my mom always sautees some in a pan to put on spaghetti and they look similar to yours.

Vicki said...

I almost always have some caramelized onions in my fridge - they're great on everything! Cooking in the oven sounds a lot easier - no stirring every few minutes.

bee said...

what a great idea to bake them!!! sometimes, with red or white onions, after caramelising them, they suddenly turn nasty and bitter. and they leech colour. wonder why. i've noticed this with really old onions from the store, not freshly harvested ones.

Alexa said...

veggiegirl,
you are so right!

sliceofsuesche,
I feel the same way about them...

vb,
I'll need to include the fork next time. :-)

Kevin,
It's a lot easier if you can monopolize your oven for three hours.

Katie,
Caramelizing in slow heat for three hours adds a depth of flavor that you just can't get from regular sauteing. I do love sauteed onions as well though.

Vicki,
You are well prepared then... What dishes do you use them on?

bee,
The onions I used came from my CSA and they were super fresh. The caramel color and the wonderful taste lasted for several days until we were done eating the batch. I believe the slow process changes the chemical composition of the onions and concentrates the sugars so much that the effect is more permanent.

Vicki said...

Hey Alexa -
We put them on sandwiches, on top of pasta, crostini & cheese, pizza, steak, tacos/burritos, sauteed veggies, rice & lentils...pretty much anything except ice cream!

LyB said...

Wow! I usually caramelize onions in a pan but three hours in the oven sounds fabulous! I just love caramelized onions, this recipe is really perfect, no fuss at all.

Alexa said...

vicki,
Thanks for your response. I love them on lentils too. I like the other ways you use caramelized onions as well. Caramelized onion ice cream, now there's a thought... :-)

Lyb,
It is so simple and then the possibilities are endless.

Patricia Scarpin said...

That is the kind of food my husband loves, Alexa.

Jude said...

This is the base for so many delicious dishes but never thought of having it as a main dish. Thanks for the interesting recipe!

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