I had never made them until last week, and I’m ashamed of myself. I’m not sure why I suddenly had the idea, but a lackluster frittata needed an upgrade, and the only ideas that I had were prosciutto and caramelized onions (how could you go wrong with those two ingredients?). A week after the bland frittata disappeared, I decided to up my game and figure out how to actually make caramelized onions.
I had a pretty solid idea: slice onions, put them in a pan and let them brown. A quick google search led me to these tips, and man, did they lead to success.
From reading more articles on caramelizing onions, you can pretty much use whichever sort of onion you’d like. I used a Vidalia onion this time, but next time I’ll probably use yellow ones. Some people even caramelize red onions, but it sounds like white ones are too thin and watery to turn out well.
The steps are really simple; the only caveat is that they need to be on the stove for about an hour because they cook slowly at a low heat, and you need to stir the onions in the pot every five to ten minutes or so. It’s minimal effort for the deliciousness you’ll receive.
Notes: I highly suggest that you double or triple this. ⅓ cup is enough for about four sandwiches, and it’s a good amount on which to serve chicken or meat. I guarantee that you’ll wish you had more than this amount, and according to what I read, they’ll last over a week in the refrigerator and freeze well.
The technically correct way to slice an onion is this: Cut off the root and the stem, cut it in half and peel. Then cut from root to stem in ¼ inch slices.
Don’t use a nonstick pan– you need the onions to make fond (those little brown bits that stick), which adds flavor.
1 tablespoon of butter or oil (I use butter.)
1 onion, sliced in ¼ inch slices
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, red or white wine or broth (I used balsamic this time, and it was too good for words.)
pinch of kosher salt
1. Melt the butter (or add the oil) in a large heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low. Add the onions, and toss them to coat in butter or oil.
2. Every five to ten minutes, stir the onions. After 10 minutes, they will have released water and begun to wilt. After 20-30, they will start to brown in places. At around 40-45 minutes, they will be a dark blonde; keep stirring them every so often, being sure to scrape the fond from the pan.
3. After about an hour, the onions will be nicely brown and amber. Turn off the heat. Add the tablespoon of liquid to the pan and mix it into the onions, scraping up fond while mixing. The liquid will sizzle and evaporate quickly from the pan’s heat, and it will impart even more flavor to the onions. Add the pinch of salt as well and mix in.
4. Transfer the onions to a dish for storage and store in the refrigerator. Or use immediately to enhance everything you’re going to eat today.