Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Simple Additions...Caramelized Onions

Have you ever considered the army of employees it takes to support your favorite famous chef? I have, and that is how I console myself when I see intricate recipes and craft projects that would take a week of vacation, a small army of minions, and a trip to a foreign country for ingredients.  
In the real world, it is often the simple additions that can make a very basic dish very extraordinary!
I have several big projects going on and was looking for something for a quick but special dinner for my husband and I. My heart was set on grilled cheese sandwiches, but wanted to make them a bit more elegant. Finding some basic cheeses, and some really GOOD cheeses, I decided to "dress them up" a little bit with some caramelized onions.  
I wanted to share the recipe and process with you because it is simple, can be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge for impromptu elegance, and can be used in so many different ways! If you like caramelized onions, you may find yourself tripling this recipe and keeping them around in large quantities.  
"What am I going to add caramelized onions to?" you ask.  Everything, if I had my way...but here are a few more specific ideas;
Fajitas, Omelets, Hamburgers, Sandwiches, Baked Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Quesadillas, Vegetables, Pizza, Bruschetta, French Onion Dip, Steak, Chicken, turkey, dressing...the list is pretty endless! Look for Spoon of Hearts on Facebook and let's talk about what dishes you "upgraded" with these gorgeous caramelized onions...

Caramelized Onions

1 Medium Onion
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1/2 Tablespoon of Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Take Medium Onion

Cut in half, then in 1/4 inch slices

Melt butter in pan over Medium heat (I use 4 setting on my gas stove) until bubbly

Add onion to pan and sauté (stir) until translucent, even a little brown

Sprinkle with the sugar and add the vinegar (I used white wine vinegar, but if you want them richer, balsamic works great, and in a pinch Apple Cider Vinegar works well too). There will be a bit of steam, but continue to stir until it melds together.

Add 1 Tablespoon of water and cook until they are the consistentcy you are looking for.  I like for them to still be recognizable as onions, but you can go as far as to cook them until they are completely soft.  

Add a pinch of salt to taste at the end, if you add it earlier it can affect the texture.  

We added them to grilled cheese sandwiches and juxtaposed with some name brand cheddar slices, and a really good french cheese called "Port Salut" - the result was rich, cheesy, and hit all of the happy taste buds! (It didn't hurt that it is Honeycrisp apple season, and with apple slices beside the sandwiches, we had lots of laughs about childhood grilled cheese lunches!)

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