Monday, 20 May 2013

Delicious delicious onions

How on earth did we end up nearly at the end of May??!  The combination of my first ever half marathon (yes, completed and all in one piece, happy with my time too, thankyouverymuch), my first embroidery project and a rather massive deadline in the day job have all conspired against leisurely time at the keyboard.  I have been cooking though – it has just been the everyday food that the family loves rather than experiments in great food for the blog.

BUT… I did chance upon the secret that I never knew for creating genuinely magnificently delicious onions.  I’m not sure where (misplaced my brain as well as those early weeks in May and all of April), but I’m sure it’s not copyrighted – it’s so damn simple – and I never knew it!

I’ve always caramelised onions with a mix of salt and sugar added, and some wine and much tending to avoid catching and burning (and probably cooking far too fast).  This is infinitely better, but does require a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and a little bit of forward planning.

Caramelised onion
Serves however many you need it for – if you are making Pissaladi√®re, you’d aim for 6-8 onions for 8 people, if you are adding it to a pie of other ingredients or having as part of pick’n’mix pasta, then 1-3 onions might do you

Onions – red or white

For each onion*:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (but if you’ve got more than 3, I’d cut it back to ½ tbsp. each, and if you’ve got more than 8, just make sure the base of the pan is well covered… it’s not a science!)
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • Salt

*So 3 onions would require 3 tbsp olive oil and 3 tbsp hot water, etc.

Heat the oil, add the onion, a good pinch or two of salt and the water.  The salt seems to be necessary for really bringing out the sweetness of the onions. Cover with a tight fitting lid and turn to the lowest setting.  Cook for an hour, stir occasionally to check they are not catching and that everything is cooking nicely (especially if you’re doing lots).  If all the water has disappeared, add some more – just remember that you’ll want to keep cooking the onions until they are meltingly soft, sweet and delicious, and all the liquid has disappeared.

Taste them and adjust for your final recipe… a dash of sherry vinegar if you want some sharpness, some seedy mustard to go on a platter with hard cheeses and gherkins, some fish stock and capers to go with fish…

Seriously delicious.  Definitely food that tastes great!

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