A passion for food + fashion

The Onion Eaters

In Food on February 8, 2009 at 8:43 am


How can a vegetable that is so cruel be so sweet? We’re talking about onions here. I absolutely refuse to get anywhere near a raw one if I’m wearing mascara. But I looooove them all the same, and after reading my former colleague and CALIFORNIA COOK columnist extraordinaire Russ Parsons’ story on caramelizing onions a couple of weeks ago in the Los Angeles Times, have been obsessing about making a pot of my own. And by “my” I mean “my husband’s.” He is the official onion handler in the house, and so yesterday afternoon, he hauled out the mandolin (two days in a row!) and sliced up several huge onions. These were drizzled with canola oil in a 3 1/2- quart Le Creuset dutch oven and sprinkled with some sea salt. Note: We were only caramelizing the three large onions we had on hand; Russ’s instructions call for six large onions, as well as a 7-quart dutch oven. If you’re going to all this work, better to make a huge amount as Russ suggests, especially since the onions keep for a week in the fridge.

I’m going to let Russ’s story speak for itself—it is required reading with great tips and techniques. I’m told it was the most emailed LA Times story the day it ran—which was the day after the inauguration I might add. And any onion eater will see why. And to echo Russ, stir, stir and stir some more. Ours ended up spooned over perfectly grilled New York steaks. Oh my god. So sweet,rich, complex, like having dinner and dessert all at once. We plan to use the leftovers next week on homemade pizza. Stay tuned!

Onions begin to soften.

Hour #1: Onions begin to soften.

Swimming in liquid.

Hour #2: Swimming in liquid.

Onions beginning to darken; house smells amazing

Hour #3: Beginning to darken; house smells amazing.

  1. I’m no expert – but I make a pretty mean carmelized onion myself. I use butter, sea salt and a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and let them go (stirring occasionally) until they are a dark golden brown color (on the verge of burning) and somewhat sticky. A marvelous addition to most any meal, in my opinion!

  2. Ideally, three hours on low – but realistically about an hour. I start with med-high heat to get an immediate browning (5-10 min) stirring several times. Reduce to medium heat, (10-15 min) stirring a few times, and then simmer on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Yours look divine.

  3. i love caramelized onions .. always make it .. simply delicious .. love this version of it .. 🙂 .. Laila .. http://limeandlemon.wordpress.com/

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