Monday, September 13, 2010

The Onion - September 13, 2010

This weekend was Andrew's birthday party. In a previous post I mentioned practicing piping the image for his cake and thought I'd share the result.  My Toy-Story obsessed little boy was happy!  Personally, I wasn't thrilled with the recipe for the cake itself, as it wasn't chocolatey enough.  Desserts need to be worth it, you know?  I'll have to work on that one.

Anyway, perhaps you wonder how any of this relates to my title.  Well, the grown-ups at the party needed to eat as well.  I made a caramelized onion dip and served it simply with some store bought potato chips.  What's so special about onion dip?  Nothing.  It's the caramalized part that earns the kudos.  I don't mean to offend its raw, sauteed, fried, grilled, or braised counterparts, because they are all lovely in the right dish.  It's just that something magical happens in the roughly 30 minutes that transforms them into a delectably sweet  condiment that I could devour with a fork alone.  I'm the first to admit that 30 minutes can seem excruciating for an element that typically plays a somewhat minor role in a meal.  But it is SO worth it.  If you've never done it before, I'm providing two treatments below as examples.  The absolute key is patience.  About 20 minutes in, you'll think they're done....please give them ten more minutes; I promise they'll be ten times more amazing.

  • Slice about 3 large onions and saute over low to medium low heat in two tablespoons each of olive oil and unsalted butter.  Optional: about 10 minutes in, add a spoonful or two of sugar.  I don't think this is really necessary if they're cooked properly.  But if you're short on time, this can speed the process a bit for you.

  • Slice and saute over low to medium heat in a few tablespoons of olive oil.  About 20 minutes in, add a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar and a 1/4 cup of beef stock.  Cook until the liquid reduces entirely.  (Side note: these are heavenly served over filet mignon and topped with crumbled blue cheese!)
The recipe for the dip called for some cayenne pepper during the carmelizing process, and it added nice complexity to the flavor.  Here's the recipe!  In a very rare move given Ina's - in my opinion - aggressive stance with onions, I actually added an extra onion to ensure they they were the star of the dish, as opposed to the creamy stuff!


sallies2120 said...

Fabulous blog, Emily! So glad you're sharing your fantastic food tips with the will be a far more flavorful place with your contributions. And happy belated birthday to Andrew!

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