The Topping You'll Literally Want On Everything: How to Caramelize Onions
Somehow sweet like candy but also savory, caramelized onions are just what your life is missing.
Before you get started, let's talk about the fond. Isn't that the guy on Happy Days? Nope.Well, what the heck is it?
When your onions are cooking down, you might notice bits of sticky brown at the bottom of the pan and worry things are burning. They're not! As the onions cook, they will release some of their sugars to the bottom of the pan--that's the fond! This delicious-ness has so much flavor, you don't want to waste it. It's quickly deglazed from the bottom of the pan with a little liquid and a quick stir. Make sure to scrape every bit of this off the bottom of the pan that you can--you won't regret the tiny bit of elbow grease required.
The Fonz knows you can crush it with these caramelized onions.
CARAMELIZING THE REAL WAY
- 2-4 yellow onions (red onions are delicious too!)
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 2 tablespoons de-glazing liquid (can be wine, stock, balsamic vinegar, or water)
1. Slice the onions from root to tip to form thin slices. (Check here if you're not sure how).
2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
3. Add the onions and stir to coat in butter.
4. Check the onions every 5 minutes or so, stirring as needed to scrape up any of the fond on the bottom of the skillet. Keep a close eye--if the onions themselves start showing signs of scorching, turn your heat down.
5. After 40-50 minutes, taste your onions--if you like the way they cook, you're done cooking! The fond may start to build up in your pan--don't bother it unless it starts to burn. If it does, add a small amount of water--just enough to deglaze.
6. When your onions are done, add 1/4 cup of deglazing liquid, scrape up the fond, and stir until well incorporated. Allow the liquid to bubble and salt the onions to taste. Continue to add liquid and stir until you've gotten every speck of fond from the skillet and the liquid has evaporated/absorbed.
CARAMELIZING THE HACK WAY
Ain't nobody got time for 40-50 minutes of cooking. The method below will yield caramelized onions in 15 minutes that are nearly just as amazing as cooking them down the traditional way.
This method is best completed using a heavy enamel-coated cast iron pan to help with good temperature regulation.
1. Slice the onions as before and melt the butter in your pan over medium heat.
2. Every few minutes, as the fond starts to form, add a splash of water and stir.
3. In 15 ish minutes, you have delicious, brown, wonderful caramelized onions.
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