Saturday, July 23, 2011

Caramelized Onions, Sweet...

After running around after work yesterday in 100 degree heat, I thought for sure when I got home I'd crash and watch some stupid TV. But that wasn't the case. I've had a craving for caramelized onions lately, and with air conditioning keeping me in the comfort zone, I proceeded with the task ahead. I love the sweetness that slow cooking brings to onions. It's almost like making jam or jelly. If you haven't done this lately or ever before, it's simple, doesn't take much time and is the perfect condiment for sandwiches, salads, pizza, vegetables, soups, savory bread pudding and absolutely perfect for eating right out of the bowl.

Caramelized Onions
3 large onions- I used 2 Vidalia and 1 red
1T olive oil
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar- I used Splenda no calorie sweetener
2 T water

Heat large pan on medium high and add oil. When oil is glistening, add onions and stir to coat. Lower heat to medium or medium low (my stove cooks HOT, so I use medium low). Spread onions evenly in pan and let cook, stirring occasionally. After about 8 minutes, add salt and sugar. If onions seem to be drying out snd sticking to the pan, add 2T water. Continue cooking onions about 30 minutes stirring every few minutes. You'll know the onions are done when they're dark brown, dense and a bit gooey. And when you taste them, the concentrated flavor is sweet and heady. Here's the progression:

Grilled Fontina and Caramelized Onion Sandwich

2 slices Italian bread

2 T caramelized onions

Shaved Fontina cheese- I buy a wedge and shave it for excellent meltability

Cooking spray

Mist stove top grill pan or griddle with cooking spray. Heat to medium/medium high. You can guess by now I use medium. Place caramelized onions on one side of bread. Top onions with shaved Fontina (use as much as you like). Cover with second piece of bread and place on grill. Cook about 3-4 minutes per side. I sometimes add pressure to my sandwich by placing a heavy saucepan on top of the sandwich and pretend I have a pannini press and that works great. When you've got nice grill marks on the bread and the cheese is oozy and hot, your sandwich is done. Eat, enjoy and get ready to make some more. They're that good!

Feel free to add cold cuts like turkey breast or roast beef, additional vegetables such as roasted peppers or tomatoes, or omit the Fontina completely and substitute with a mixture of mayo and blue cheese. Or really, just enjoy the intensity of the onions alone on a crisp cracker. This is a great condiment that needs nothing but a little imagination.


lynn socko said...

I want a caramelized onion sammie now!!! Gorgeous!

Linda said...

I want one too, but just started a diet and am giving up the bread for a few weeks. Alternate idea is to just eat the insides with a spoon.