Transformation - FamilyEducation

Transformation

March 18,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Isn’t it amazing how something so bitter raw, can become a sweet and tangy delight when cooked low and slow? I am not a big fan of raw onions in large quantities, but if they are cooked just right, they become caramelized and oh-my-goodness good. Caramelized onions can transform a dish with very little fat or calories. They are great on a pizza, in chili, on top of a salad, as a sandwich condiment or as a “sauce” for grilled anything. Here’s a primer on how to make really, really good caramelized onions. First, start with a lot of onions, far more than you think you need. I used about 4 cups of onions to get less than 1 cup of caramelized onions. If you are not sure how much you will need, aim high, because you can freeze caramelized onions for future use. Cut them in slices and place in a large skillet with a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Cook on medium/medium low heat: Stir regularly and keep an eye on them as they will begin to wilt a bit: Continue stirring, adjusting the heat as necessary. You don’t want them to brown quickly, as this doesn’t allow for all of their natural sweetness to be released: As you can see from my handy dandy kitchen timer, this takes a bit of time, but it is so worth it the time! Once the onions are an ooey-gooey mess, pour 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar in the pan to deglaze the pan and loosen all those really tasty browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Reduce your heat and let cook a few minutes or until the balsamic is completely evaporated. Voila! A tasty topping to almost any dish. Enjoy- SPC