How to: caramelize onions

In technique on February 2, 2011 at 8:11 am
As evidenced by this blog (and the fact that I spend a lot of time daydreaming about food), I love cooking. It relaxes me, it’s fun, I enjoy bringing friends together over a meal.


But I certainly not a perfect cook. There are things that challenge me, and I generally avoid them rather than address them. Examples? I can’t properly grill a steak to save my life, I get very paranoid cooking chicken, I tend to shy away from any spice combination coming from the Asian continent, and I’m a pretty uninspired baker.


But I’d like to branch out and challenge myself, which is why I thought I’d introduce a new little series here – more based in technique, maybe based in new recipes, but definitely more in the learning process rather than the advisory one.


I.e. I am going to mess up. But hopefully I’ll be able to explain why and not do it again.


First up? Caramelizing onions, which I eat happily but have never made.


Let’s caramelize!

What did I use?

  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 tbl. butter
  • 2-3 red onions, cut in half and then sliced in thin half moon shapes
  • salt

What did I do?

  • I used a medium cast-iron skillet and turned the heat on medium high. I let the oil and butter get really warm, then added the onions and let sizzle for 10 minutes.
  • Then I added a few dashes of salt and turned the heat to medium-low.
  • Then I just let the onions cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
What happened?
  • All things considered, pretty well!
  • First off, I chopped way too many onions for my medium skillet. Two would have been plenty. I also didn’t cut them very evenly, but they got small enough to where it didn’t matter.
  • I only cooked them for 45 minutes because I needed them for dinner. Most people say onions could cook for hours, so maybe there were still levels of flavor I missed.
  • Also, there was still a lot of oil left in the pan, so I ended up draining the onions, which felt weird.
  • But I cooked in a variation of this crustless quiche and it was so delicious.

I’d say – success!!

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