Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday Basics: caramelized onions

Everyone needs to know how to make perfect caramelized onions. I know it may seem a little silly and trivial but if you take a little time with those onions the reward is unbelievable. To really impart a perfect golden crispness to the onions while maintaining a certainly level of tenderness is really not that scary. This is how I go about caramelizing onions:

1. Chop onions. I generally end up dicing mine because Girly says she doesn't like onions which means she doesn't want to see them but expects the flavour to be present.

2. Heat a pan on medium. Once it is hot enough drop in either butter or a drizzle of olive oil. Butter adds its own richness but it can burn. In the best case scenario, add your butter and to keep it from burning add just a small drizzle of oil. You do want the butter to foam up, that is when you add the oil.

3. Add onions and toss around until they get the slightest bit of browning.

4. Turn the heat down to low and let those babies simmer away. The onions will start to release their juices and everything melds into perfection.

5. Just before you are set to add your other ingredients, sprinkle a pinch of sugar over the onions, deglaze with wine and pinch a bit of potato starch on it. The wine and starch will transform your onions. Seriously.

For a little extra bite and depth sometimes I will use half balsamic vinegar/half wine to deglaze the pan. Be careful with balsamic vinegar, sometimes it is really acidic and mind the colour!

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